Like the Great White Hunter, Stalking across the Serengeti

My new friend’s expression changed from confusion to sympathy in a flash. “Oh, of course. You know, there was another sign around here that was missing an apostrophe. . . . I wish I could remember where it was. . . .”

I hope that someday not too long from today, she will encounter that lost sign once again, and remember our conversation, and take up her own instrument of correction. We at TEAL have not been graced with superpowers, only a simple devotion to the just. Nothing separates you and us. You can do exactly the same thing in your own neighborhood. I’ve already heard from more than a few kindred souls out there who have been moved by the League to make a difference.

In April, I found the above post on Jeff Deck's blog through an ABC News story on him (Road Scholar Edits America). I saved it in my drafts folder and essentially forgot about it until his name popped up last week in a link on the Copyediting listserv.

Apparently he took things a smidge too far. Schadenfreude ensued! In the aftermath, I came across this comment, which I love mostly for the mistress reference.

Frankie Machine says:

I worked as a copy editor and proofreader for ten years.

I was the best there ever was. Strunk and White. The Chicago Manual of Style. MLA. Even AP. I knew them all. They were my mistresses.

But I had to leave the profession because, eventually, I would have faced one of three fates:

1. I would have turned into these psychos;
2. I would have drowned in the bottle;
3. I wouldn’t have been able to pay my phone bill.

In those ten years, I came to hate amateurs like this. If they love grammar and punctuation so much, let them hold a job where they get paid to correct it for eight hours a day. That would be a fair and just punishment for them.

Let it go, Deck and Henderson. Let it go.


Frankie Machine

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1 comment:

  1. I think I love Frankie Machine. I want to be his mistress.

    I love people who THINK they are correcting other people and are, in fact, wrong themselves. That is the best.