Pardon me, your slip is showing

Last Wednesday morning, during my weekly group meeting at Einstein Bagels, I interrupted one of my girlfriend’s as she was telling a story. In fact, if ever there was a blurt, I blurted: “You have something between your teeth.” Then I began apologizing because clearly at some point in the story, I’d quit paying attention to the story, my mind distracted by the (shiny) dark object between two of her teeth. She reassured me, saying it was no problem, “That’s what friends do!” Consensus was that interrupting to report potential embarrassments (such as “you have a booger on your nose” or “your skirt is caught in your underwear”) is acceptable.

Yes, that’s what friends do. But what if you notice something potentially embarrassing and the mishap has mis-happened to a stranger? Do you point out the broccoli or the booger or the wardrobe failure to the unwitting victim? It’s awkward, right?

What if the broccoli is actually a typo? Typos are an inevitable part of publishing. Back in the day, Reader’s Digest had a regular section devoted just to typos that made it into print. Now, with the self-publishing forums of Twitter and Facebook, typos are incredibly easy to publish. It’s not always clear if the error is due to speed-typing/publishing or ignorance. Personally, I’m trying (heaven help me) to take the 3 extra seconds to read what I’ve written before I hit “publish.” Even so, I’ve recently published these jewels:

Oh, the humanity!

I accept that I’m fallible. We are human, and humans make mistakes. Unfortunately, I suffer from a blessing/curse caused by a damned gene (or possibly the fault of my upbringing) that has given me an eye for typos. I see them everywhere, just as Cole Sear sees dead people in The Sixth Sense. Sometimes they’re funny and sometimes they just make me wonder (i.e. the “funiest facebook status typo” fan page, apparently created to showcase one noteworthy facebook status. The misspelling of “funnies” appears to be inadvertent):

Now, the dilemma: if you find an error on a website, how do you graciously point this out to the publisher? Michael Hyatt, recently retired CEO from Thomas Nelson Publishing, has been putting up with my feedback for a while. He is always gracious. Don’t get me wrong – he doesn’t make a lot of typos. But when one slips by, I assume he’d like to know about it, so I send an e-mail. Perhaps he counts me as a credit on his path to sainthood. I just know that it is a relief to send him a note, receive his response, and ultimately see the typo corrected. Okay, so I’m a little OCD. This is not new news.

So what’s eating at me enough to warrant an entire post? Hapiness. Yes, “hapiness”. This appeared on Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project website:

Ironically, although I follow both Gretchen and Mr. Lady, neither have reciprocated. I realized this when I went to DM them. I spent a bit of time reliving Middle School Angst, fretting about why they never followed me back, but we won’t go there (or you’re welcome to speculate in the comments – you can’t come up with anything I haven’t already considered in my paranoid “why don’t they like me” soul-search). So we can suffice it to say, they are not my friends. Not enemies, but not friends. So…do I point out the slip?

In general, not everyone is as gracious as Michael Hyatt. I’ve grown gun-shy about pointing things out. So I ask you: If it were your blog, would you want a stranger to point out an errant keystroke?

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
This entry was posted in angst, blogs, Is it just me?, reading, Venting, Wisdom, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pardon me, your slip is showing

  1. Truett Ogden says:

    In particularly painful situations, such as titles of blog posts, big headings, or sentences that for some reason become particularly embarrassing with the typo in it, I’d say mention it, via a short, short, short addendum at the end of a friendly comment about the content. (If you dislike the post, just move along.) Don’t bother correcting main body typos, tweets, facebook statuses, comments, and that sort of thing.

    I recommend not worrying about whether or not people follow you, people are really different with their reasons for following! Some people only follow celebrities, some only follow people they’ve met face to face, some UNfollow you if you tweet about your sandwich being awesome. Just do what you do. 🙂

    ~Truett Ogden

  2. When I worked in publishing (way back in 2008), there was a section in the text book I was editing that referenced the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”. Yes, “happiness” is spelled with an ‘i’, but in the movie title it isn’t. I don’t know if they spelled it with a “y” for a real purpose or just to further miseducate kids, but it caused World War 3 between the editors and the production team.

    We’d mark the proof up, leaving the word alone, so it would stay as it was, spelled with the “y”. Then we’d get the proofs back, and the word would be spelled wrong, which in real life, was actually right. We’d mark for the “i” to be changed back to a “y” during the second round of production and send it back. When the second round proofs came to us, it was spelled correctly, with the “y”.

    Then came the mark-ups on the second round proofs, with completely different changes, and no marks on the word. And lo and behold, third round proofs came back with it spelled incorrectly, that stupid “i” back in there. This went on for about 7 rounds of proofs, and was only settled after ending a work day early and rolling a TV and DVD player into the office to watch the movie.

    I still haunts me to this day.

    • Fran Hart says:

      I can imagine! I saw the movie and never did understand the significance of the misspelling. It never occurred to me that the repercussions went far beyond the immediate impact of the movie. It’s all too similar to the “Quik” washes and other cute marketing names. Ugh.

  3. karmawins says:

    Our local newspaper recently quoted the city clerk as saying that candidates for office who can’t afford the filing fee could file an “undo hardship” application. What a wonderful world that would be….