Why is it that I make a typo in every single post I write? Every day I put the finishing touches on my post then hit publish, only to read it online and discover a missing word, a typo, or, even worse, the incorrect use of their or which or effect. It happens every day without fail. I'm sure that some of those errors can be chalked up to writing my post at the end of the day after a glass of wine (or 2), and a few are definitely because I still haven't gotten my keyboard cleaned so certain letters tend to stick. The rest just fall on me!
Typos have plagued me for many years, and one word in particular. On two separate occasions, an error in the word "public" has raised the hairs on the back of my neck and sent me into a tizzy. The first time was in a fundraising letter for the education foundation. I was sitting at dinner with my kids when a friend called, practically in tears laughing, as she had just opened and read a beg letter for Carlisle PUBIC Schools. I was mortified, but it was printed, mailed and being opened by 1,800 local households, so all I could do was bury my head and hope that people really don't read letters as closely as they should.
The second time was on a poster for the garden club at the local library. The poster illustrated a monthly calendar of events, and February's event was movie viewing. We put the poster up in the entrance of the library, and just a few hours after we installed it, I got a call from someone on the committee who was frantic. The librarian had called her to say they had noticed a typo on the poster—actually they noticed a bunch of 8th graders taking photos of the poster and went over to see what all the excitement was about. The librarian was wondering if we wanted to fix it....WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO FIX THAT???? We were back in the library within the half hour armed with a new printout that corrected the PUBIC movie viewing and a glue stick to paste it over the top. My fear, though, is that bad things tend to happen in threes, so I'm just waiting in dread for the new time it happens!
I do have to say that, in both cases, I didn't type the offending copy. I simply copied and pasted the text from emails I received. Email is generally loaded with typos—it's just so hard to get your thoughts down quickly and succinctly and then proofread for yourself before you hit send.
There's not much excuse, in my book, when you have an assistant to send your notes out. For example, we had a superintendent in town who had a habit of sending out emails without proofing them. She had a number of people working in her office, any one of them who could have taken a look at emails she was sending to parents to make sure everything checked out OK. Here was the head of the educational system in our town and the person who represented our schools to the state, who consistently had typos in her correspondence. I finally had to write to her and ask why she couldn't ask someone to proofread before she sent email out.....needless to say she stopped waving at me across the plaza for quite a while.
I do think it's odd that I miss so many typos in my own writing when I'm a tough editor of work by others. One of my kids called me the Tom Coughlin of editors when I plastered post-it notes all over a paper he asked me to read. He is a great writer, and I guess I was a little over-enthusiastic with my comments. The other two kids definitely took notice....Hans is now the only one around here who ever asks me to edit anything.
But, like my diet, I wake up each day with good intentions, doing my best to proof read everything I send out to catch typos. With all of the witting I've been doing lately, that time really adds up. And, like my diet, I don't let those mistakes that sneak by get me down—tomorrow is another day!