At the day-job yesterday, I got the sort of email I dread.
No, not the ones promising a discount mortgage with the purchase of internet porn (I actually kind of like those). This one was pointing out a typo in a brand new brochure we just got back from the printer in great big boxes stuffed with 10,0000 copies.
"Where it says ozyacetlyene," wrote a business associate, "is this supposed to be oxyacetlyene?
It's a tiny word in a small block of copy describing the tool used to create a sculpture. I grabbed the description straight from the art organization's website, but I damn well should have double-checked the spelling and I know it.
I hate that.
On the grand scale of typos, it's not the worst I've ever seen. In my younger years as a journalist, I missed it when my spell checker corrected a university president's name from "Marilyn Wessel" to "Marlin Weasel" in an article about funding cuts.
She wasn't amused.
I've been writing for my supper in one form or another my entire adult life, so you'd think I'd be used to uncomfortable typos by now. Still, I have a crippling fear of looking at anything I've written after it's printed and published. You want to know how many times I've opened a copy of Making Waves?
And the only reason I did it was because I had to read a section of the book for a speaking engagement. I decided to read from the uncorrected proof so if I did find any typos, I could assure myself they'd been corrected in the actual, printed copies of the book.
But the first time I read from the proof, I stumbled over a typo right in the middle of the Newlywed Game scene. I recovered and kept reading, but for several days after that, I couldn't shake the horrible thought:
What if it actually went to print like that?
Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I looked in the actual, printed copy of Making Waves, and dammitalltohell, the typo is in there. It might not be apparent to everyone, but it's obvious when you read the scene aloud (so, uh...don't do that).
I went back to my uncorrected proof and scribbled a correction so I don't stumble anymore when I read the scene in public. Still, it bugs me.
I'm pretty sure that's the last time I'll look at a printed copy of one of my books. I'm keeping that in mind as I stare at the small pile of uncorrected proofs I just got in the mail for Believe it or Not. Do I look? I'm pretty sure the real book has already gone to print, so if I find a typo now, I might not be able to do anything about it.
I know there are more important things to stress about in life, but sometimes we have to fret about the little crap just to keep our minds off the big stuff (like the fact that I'm facing a really daunting edit on my third contracted romantic comedy, Mad Crush).
Do you get freaky about typos, or can you let them roll off your back? Did you happen to catch the typo in the Newlywed Game scene in Making Waves?
Wait. Crap. Why am I telling you about that? Now you're all going to go look, aren't you?
This is the worst blog post ever.