Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:10 am  
Why it is important to proofread

I've had an interesting morning, and it has inspired me to write a note here reminding all you budding authors out there why it's important to proofread your manuscripts carefully.

I woke up early this morning and the first thing I saw, of course, was my wife. I won't get into any personal details, but let me just tell you that I have a wonderful wife and I consider it a singular honor that I get to share life with her. We've been friends since about the age of 12 and, except for a brief few years when I was in college and she was in the army, we've always been together in one way or another. She and I have a great relationship, and we work hard to keep it that way. We don't keep any secrets from each other, we try hard to communicate, and we go to great lengths to be honest and open with each other. What does this have to do with proofreading? Keep reading.

Inspired by the sight of my beloved wife sleeping so sweetly, I decided to go to the computer in my office and write her a love note. I left the completed note lying in a conspicuous place on my desk knowing she would find it, read it, and be suitably pleased. I even addressed the note in large, bold, brightly colored letters to make sure she knew it was for her: To My Dear Wife.

I proceeded with my morning routine and began to wait for her reaction. And I waited. And I waited. Eventually I began to think she'd missed it. Then I began to notice she seemed upset by something. Then I noticed I was getting the silent treatment. Then I noticed she was quietly seething about something. Not long after that she stormed out of the house without telling me where she was going. That's never happened before, so I knew something must be seriously wrong. An hour later I got a call from one of her friends telling me what a pig I was (and other, more colorful statements concerning my morality, my parentage, and my eternal destiny). The friend hung up before I could even get a word in.

It's not normally a good idea to start a conversation with my wife when she's angry. She's a sweet person - she really is - but on those rare occasions when she gets angry much of that sweetness melts away. It's usually better to just wait until she calms down at such times. With this in mind, I retired to my office to get some work done and let her cool off. I resisted the urge to call her on her cell and find out what was wrong, though not knowing was killing me.

While working, I noticed the letter I'd written her was still on my desk, but partially obscured by the morning mail. Thinking she'd missed it, I picked up the letter and placed it in a more noticeable position. Then I discovered why she was mad. The letter I had written, which contained no less than 3 pages of text detailing my undying devotion and heartfelt affection, had been mistakenly addressed, "To My DEAD Wife!"

So please, folks, don't forget to proofread your manuscripts. It could save your life someday.