I correct people’s mistakes all the time. Hopefully in less the “I-need-to-correct-you-because-I-am-an-editor-and-must-inform-you-that-you-should-know-better” way and more in the same way I would tell a friend her zipper is down—a polite “FYI, XYZ” for the sake of the person, not my ego. I don’t judge the offender. Once fixed, I forget. But when I make a blunder? Self-forgiveness is elusive.
The most embarrassing thing for an editor has to be those silly mistakes that slip when we’re not focusing hard enough, or maybe even focusing too hard. I don’t mean a typo or a grammar error that could maybe be argued or that really makes no difference on a grander scale, or an error for the sake of speed—I know I make tons of those. I’m talking about full on wrong, I-should-and-do-know-better mistakes.
I could compare it to, say, tripping up an escalator or letting a puck slide through the five-hole and into the net, but those things, while frustrating, are just not as embarrassing. That is how I feel when I catch a silly mistake made…a silly mistake published. It’s like farting in downward dog during a packed yoga class. Facepalm! It leaves me blushing for hours and wondering, how obvious was/is it? How many people saw/will see it?
My only reprieve is in knowing that, alas, everybody farts.