My Mistake of the Day

“Multitasking is the ability to screw everything up simultaneously.” – Jeremy Clarkson

I’ll admit that I had no idea who Jeremy Clarkson was when I read this quote, but I looked him up. He’s a British journalist, who also does a long list of other things. The quote spoke to me – both the multitasking part and the screwing up part. In fact, I’m quite good at the latter. Not so great at the former.

I’ve had the humbling experience of making one of the biggest errors a writer can make. I made two big errors in our September issue, but I’ll start with the worst one. I’m hoping it will make me feel better to confess to you.

The first egregious mistake: I messed up a person’s name. Yes, I know. It’s the worst thing you can do. In an article about yoga, I gave the owner of YogaQuest a completely new last name. Her correct name is Dee Anne Day. Dee Anne Day is a unique (and not difficult) name. How could I have messed it up? She was lovely about the error, and even laughed about people calling her to see if she had gotten married and changed her name. ugh. She should have been angry with me.  The years of yoga must have imbued her with a calm and forgiving nature. I appreciate her understanding.

The second error was in the same issue. I wrote an article about The University School at TU. The school is celebrating 40 years of educating gifted children. To celebrate that milestone, they’re holding a gala on Sat., Sept. 24 at the Tulsa Club Hotel. I wrote that it would be held at the Tulsa Country Club. To make matters worse, I have no excuse. I looked up the event when I was writing the information. It clearly says TULSA CLUB HOTEL. Why I wrote it differently, I can’t say.

I’ve made many, many more errors over the years. One of my favorites was many years ago. A new airline was flying into Tulsa International Airport. I was writing up a little blurb about it and, as I was writing, I couldn’t remember the name of the airline, so I made up a name as a placeholder thinking I would doublecheck and come back to it. I got distracted with other work and never corrected the name. The airline folks were not happy that I had renamed their airline. Oops.

Typos on the cover, misspellings, grammatical and punctuation errors – you name it, I’ve done it. In fact, if I tried to list all the mistakes I’ve made over the years, it would go on for pages and pages. Many of these errors are a simple matter of proofreading and fact-checking, but they still slip by, especially when you’re on a deadline, and you don’t have employees to take care of those things. But that’s just an excuse.

The multitasking I must do is also an excuse, but a real one. I have a lot of tasks, and a lot of information floating around in my brain, some of it important, some not. Lists, Google spreadsheets, calendar reminders – all for naught.

To be human is to make mistakes. To be human is to focus more on our mistakes than our successes. To be me is to make mistakes that keep me up at night. Please forgive me.

Categories: Editor’s Blog