Thursday, October 22, 2009

My inner pedant gets a gag order

Back in times of old, when I used to read The New York Times in processed wood-pulp format, I always had a red pen in hand, because it was full of niggly little typos and the occasional large, glaring error – and I marked up my copy as I went along. It was satisfying in the same way that shouting at Jeopardy contestants is satisfying – Look how stupid those people are! I’m better than that!

Apparently I’m not so much better than Jeopardites, though, because although I’m still good at finding those typos, I have laid aside my red pen. Which would be a small matter had I not complained about the typos in a book (Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!) using a public forum (this one) – but unfortunately failed to record the offenses for future reference (oops).

Last night, the book’s author, Mykle Hansen, left a comment on my review, offering to correct the offending typos if I would email them to him. This is nothing less than a matter of honor, with only one possible course of action: I’m going to re-read the book, red pen in hand, and find all the errors again, and email him a list.

I am starting to despair, as I realize I have no hope of completing 50 books in one year, since I am now re-reading books I’ve finished, in addition to reading books I can’t count, not to mention starting books I don’t finish. I don’t really mind though; I have a cold today and can’t concentrate very well, so it’s a good day to re-read something, especially something that made me laugh as much as Mr. Hansen’s book.

Mr. Hansen generously offered to “discipline the typos that may have glared” at me. I can only assume this won’t be some sort of namby-pamby “time out” discipline; I’m expecting strict discipline of the corporal variety. My inner pedant is obviously ecstatic – so happy, in fact, that it wants to throw a party.

How does a pedant throw a party? Do the invitations come with annotations? Are there chemists involved in making the drinks, or is mixology now officially a science? Do you throw punctuation instead of confetti? My inner pedant is going to have to shut up until I find the answers to these questions.

In the meantime, if you should happen to pick up a copy of Help! A Bear Is Eating Me! and find it blissfully typo-free – you’re welcome.


  1. I have to laugh about you reading the Times with a red pen in hand, having a degree in journalism, I can totally relate!

    Just don't red pen my blog, I'm sure it has some glaring errors!

    Just stopping by late to say hi from last week's VGNO!

  2. haha oh man if an author had left a comment like that on my blog i would have been humiliated!! i'm glad you're throwing a party and not hiding under your bed crying and eating chocolate...

  3. Hilarious Post!

    My husband does the same with our little local newspaper. I shall let him know he has a kindred spirit. He'll be so happy.

    Luckily for me, all of my editor / writer friends kindly assume I can't write. Whee! Lucky! No sea of red ink for me.


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