Once upon a time, in a land too close to home, there was a girl — a writer — penning the product description for her debut novel.
After writing and rewriting, she sends it to some smart writer friends to review, including a copywriter who responds and points out that she likely does not mean that the husband and son of her main character died in a “grizzly” car accident, unless, of course, said accident involved a bear mauling said people.
Duh, she thinks while cursing homonyms — those words like “their” and “they’re” that sound the same but are spelled differently (and, of course, mean very different things). “Thank you, thank you,” the girl says to her eagle-eyed (and very kind) friend for pointing it out before any damage has been done, and she goes on, purging the word “grizzly” from every piece of copy. All except one: the product page for her paperback on Amazon.
She doesn’t realize this, of course, until after the page goes live and someone she doesn’t know points it out to her (gulp). She’s grateful to the person who catches it, but the Internet is one of those things that doesn’t let you forget your mistakes, ever.
Even after she corrects the mistake, the typo lingers in places where the product description has already been “pulled,” like on the girl’s Facebook page and other people’s Facebook pages, including the girl’s high school friend, Tom, who wanted to share the announcement about the girl’s book with all of his friends, which, of course, includes everyone from said high school. And there it is, the “grizzly” (or is it “grisly”?) typo for all of the class of 1991 (and more) to see, and suddenly the girl is in high school again, in gym class, and she’s fat and doesn’t want to change in front of all the pretty girls and her face heats up from embarrassment and everyone stares.
The girl senses her brain turning on her, because she’s unable to stop thinking about the typo, feeling like it’s Out There for everyone to see and laugh at and that it’s worse than if she had a big red zit on the tip of her nose forever.
The girl tries to rationalize that typos happen and that they’re proof we’re all human, and they even happen (gasp) in traditionally published books and The New York Times, but, of course, the girl knows that doesn’t make them any more acceptable.
As for the words “grizzly” and “grisly,” after this incident, the girl knows she will never ever write those two words again. She reckons she could be kidnapped by aliens and forced to watch an endless loop of Grizzly Adams while said aliens feed her the grisly remains of cows or crocodiles or maybe even something a little more human, like clowns or telemarketers, and the only communication she’s allowed to have is via email, but even then, in said communication via email, she would refuse to write the letters g-r-i-z-z-l-y or g-r-i-s-l-y to describe her situation.
“Grizzly and grisly,” the girl says, “You are dead to me.” And she spends the remainder of her days hitting the F5 key, refreshing her product page on Amazon just to be sure.
Editor’s note #1: Yes, “the girl” is me.
Editor’s note #2: Yes, I realize I’m talking about only ONE typo here and the title is, in essence, inaccurate. Leave me alone.
Editor’s note #3: My version of heaven is a place that’s typo-free and everything you write and think and say comes out just the way you meant it to, with every detail, nuance, and word correct, and George Clooney would be my cabana boy.