Sunday, April 01, 2012

I, Proofreader ...


A post about proofreading?

No, this is not an April Fool's joke.

(Tangent: Really? People still play April Fool's jokes? What's up with that? Some traditions are quaint. Some things, I'm glad to see. I'm glad that parents still take their kids to get their pictures taken with Santa and the Easter Bunny. I'm glad that technology hasn't become such that parents can just plop their kids in front of their giant TVs, set the channel to a programmed green screen, snap a shot, and superimpose kids onto Santa's lap, or a bunny's. Though, really, can that be far behind? Also, I like that kids still learn to ride two-wheelers, because surely the day will come when they'll sit on a device in their homes and project themselves into some virtual world instead of riding around town. P.S. God, I'm old.)

But as I was typing: proofreading.

I'm sitting in my living room on a dim Sunday morning, the rain having just moved through, trying to sip enough coffee to eradicate my caffeine-deficiency headache from yesterday, and thinking that I really should write something. This blog has been suffering from a bit of neglect lately, and I don't like to be virtually inhospitable. My brain wandered over to thinking about this post from Angelo, about how his life has unfolded in unexpected ways. (I love that when he found himself in the enviable position of having landed two pilots, he chose to proceed with the show he thought wouldn't last.)

He didn't have a plan. He didn't set out expressly to do what he does. His career – we both dislike the word "career" – evolved, as many "not careers" do.

But this is not a post about my "not career." I can't bear to write another one. So I know that you can't bear to read another one. I share your sighs of relief.

So, my brain, in its morning meanderings, started thinking about proofreading, which I do for money sometimes, but most of the time I do whether there's a check waiting for me at the end of it or not. I spot imperfection. It's what I do. Friday, I was proofreading some content for a client and was marking up instances where the kerning needed to be adjusted. (I have a crazy aptitude for all things spatial. Enjoy, please, my very wordy treatise about my experience with The Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation to find out more. C'mon, you know you want to!)

My point in all of this – yes, I have one, thankyouverymuch – is that I was contemplating proofreading this morning as a means to fix what is fixable, to control what is controllable, to make perfect what is imperfect.

Geez, I have issues.

I might not be able to control everything that happens in the course of my life, but dammit, I can point out that the proper acronym is HIPAA, not HIPPA. (It comes up more often than you'd think.) And while we're on the subject: M-I-L-L-E-N-N-I-U-M, kids, two Ls, two Ns. Thanks. And two Ms and two Is, for that matter, but most people give short shrift to the Ls or the Ns.

And now my brain has decided that it's done with this idea, this post. No great revelations here. Yep, I'm a perfectionist. Yep, proofreading suits me that way. Yep, people should run stuff by me on their way to the printer. But then again, no. The world keeps turning in spite of typos and the occasional extra space.

Big picture, Beth. Big picture. Focus on that.

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