Column - Mistakes can be laughableIt’s amazing what happens when you accidentally switch one little letter in a word.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
It’s amazing what happens when you accidentally switch one little letter in a word.
Luckily for me, I have an enormous sense of humor or I would have been completely devastated when I inadvertently typed the word “wench” for the word “winch.”
I do know the difference, contrary to what some people may believe, between what a winch is and what a wench is.
The story, “How do you pick up a pickup under ice?” appeared in the Friday, January 8 Echo Press. It told the story of how a local diver, Jeff Bosek, used two of his biggest winches to recover a couple of vehicles from Lake Reno.
Unfortunately for me, I typed the word wench – not just once, but at least six different times within the story.
Here’s the funny thing, after I wrote the story, the editor read it and didn’t catch my erroneous word choice. And after he read it, it went to the proofreader and she didn’t catch my error either.
Luckily, an Echo Press online reader caught the misused word and posted a comment – at 6:17 a.m. And lucky for me, I read the online posts as I am enjoying my breakfast. The post read, “I believe he used two of his biggest winches not wenches.”
At first, I could feel the rush of red run up my neck, then, I started laughing – hysterically. I thought it was one of the funniest mistakes I have ever made.
Then, I immediately changed the online version of the story so that it read winches, not wenches. That’s the cool thing about the Internet; I could fix my mistake, unlike the actual hard copy version of the newspaper.
There were several online posters who had fun with my error, as did I. When I got to work, I told many of my co-workers about my mistake, as well as the editor and our proofreader. Although we were cussing ourselves over the flub, we also saw some humor in the whole ordeal – at my expense.
But here’s the thing, like I said previously, I could have been devastated over such a stupid, idiotic mistake. I mean, come on, who doesn’t know the difference between two such very different items?
Instead, I took the opportunity to laugh at myself and to realize, that yes, I make mistakes. And so do the newspaper editor and even our proofreader. No one person is perfect – despite what he/she may think.
Laughing at our mistakes is what makes us human. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, then what? Would it have been better to let it eat at me and ruin my day? Not a chance. Life’s too short for that.
One online poster wrote, “Think Celeste may be in for some embarrassment when she looks wench up in a dictionary!” I didn’t have to look it up; I knew exactly what I did when I saw the first comment. At first, yes, I may have been a little embarrassed, but it didn’t last too long. Seriously, it was way too comical.
Another poster wrote, “Tough to live that one down.” I have to disagree. I don’t see it that way at all. I will definitely learn from it, but it’s a mistake that didn’t harm anyone. It didn’t cause distress for anyone – or at least I sure hope it didn’t. Instead, it caused plenty of people to smile and probably laugh out loud.
Another online comment, which I completely had to say out loud in my best pirate accent, was, “Arrrr. They be some tough wenches they be.”
An Echo Press “avid reader,” even took the time to mail me a letter. After giving me the definitions of both words, she said, “By changing one vowel, your article made it sound like Bosek got the truck out by using two very large young women and that he also owns and uses two more on occasion.” She said she usually lets typo errors go by, but this one caused her to chuckle.
The same day the paper came out, I happened to run into Jeff, who the article was about, and he thanked me for writing the story. He said I did a great job. I started laughing, telling him about my mistake. He then laughed, but immediately said he hadn’t even noticed.
That also caused me to chuckle.