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The Gotcha That Bites Back

My much-loved, though occasionally delusional, husband is fascinated by Donald Trump. Therefore, we were watching the latest installment of “Celebrity Apprentice” the other night when I saw yet another example of the “gotcha” that bites.

The men’s team had many problems with its project (an advertisement for The Best Hotel Collection in The Universe — The Trump Collection, as if there were a doubt), including some spelling problems in the rough draft. Their judges smugly pointed out and and circled for the camera, which zoomed in on the text, “discreetly.” The judges chuckled in that superior way and a viewer could almost hear the “gotcha.” Unfortunately for the judges — and why NBC allowed this to remain in the final edit, I have no clue — “discreetly,” as used in the sentence is (wait for it) correct. Apparently the judges have seen “discreetly” misused and spelled “discretely” (also a perfectly good word but with a different meaning) until they don’t know the correct usage when they see it.

I saw the same thing on a blog a week or two ago. The phrase “to whet your appetite” was used. A perfectly good, though possibly overused, expression. Correctly spelled. The first comment was, rather smugly, I thought, “wet, not whet.” The second comment corrected the first. The third, amazingly, was by the first commenter, calling the one who corrected her, and I quote, a “troll.” I’m sure you know what a troll is, one who posts inflammatory ridiculous comments to stir up trouble. No. If anyone was being trollish, it seems to me the incorrect “correcter” was.

What’s the point of all this? I suppose it is just to say we should keep an humble mind. We all make mistakes. There’s a mistake on the back cover of a novel I edited that was published last week. In fact the mistake is in a sentence I actually wrote. I have no idea how it happened. It’s not the type of mistake I normally make — and, trust me, I’m well aware of the types of mistakes I normally make — but there it is. In print. For everyone to see. I’m just hoping it’s not too glaring. And if someone points it out to me, I have a response all ready.

“I know. I’ve already thrown myself on my sword for the author. If you want me to, I’ll throw myself on another one for you.”

Yes, I’m still a bit snarky. But I’m not above making mistakes. And I will do my best to take responsibility for them.

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