Write copy enough years and you’ll have a memorable list of mistakes that made it through multiple proofings. Such as the tome I presented to a St. Louis trust company which said they provided “complete tryst services.” Their distinguished VP simply peered at me over the top of his glasses, smiled and said “That must be a new offering.”
Then there was the brochure text I was reviewing with a team of prominent Denver attorneys. I had written they specialized in “pubic finance” instead of public finance. My defense: I am so sorry; SpellCheck is not infallible. Their response: “Actually, we have a divorce case underway that might qualify.”
And then there was today. At a near-final proofing of a beautiful memory book, I realized the word I’d used to describe the tireless fund raising of the founding Sisters of St. Anthony Hospital actually means “by trickery.” Change was as simple as a phone call. I’m chalking that save up to divine intervention.
Needless to say, correcting errors in type is top of my mind at the moment. And the evolution of tools and tricks for making those wrongs right makes me laugh. Remember the big-wheel erasers with the little whisk brooms at the end that came standard with old typewriters? And how they morphed into pretty, pink pencil-type erasers you sharpened? Then came chalky correction paper, which you used while praying you’d hit the same key in the same way at the same pressure so it would work. But it was Wite-Out® and Magic Paper® (invented by the mom of The Monkees‘ Mike Nesmith, you trivia buffs) that really changed the secretarial world. Followed by the wonder of wonders: the autocorrecting IBM Selectric, which literally lifted off errors.
Low-tech? Yes. But I’m guessing from this story on NPR
that some high-tech users would welcome anything to counter the autocorrect text function of their cell phones.
Or my name isn’t Carla Cartwheel.