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An Editor’s Bucket List

Tom Raabe rocks! My favorites:

  • Catch a really important typo. Many have been the authors whose assiduous editors have saved them from espousing a “pubic” theology, for example, or from proclaiming a gospel that is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the “Geeks.” The great editorial coup, however, the ne plus ultra of the category, is catching a typo in the title of a book on the very cover of the book in question. There circulated a few copies of the first edition of Elmer Gantry whose covers proclaimed the title as Elmer Cantry. Pity the poor saps who scribbled their sign-off initials on the cover proofs of that one.
  • Successfully pronounce a French phrase at a staff or sales meeting. Reading refined and intelligent books for a living, I come across a plethora of recondite words, and not a small number of foreign phrases, many of them in French. I look these up, of course, to verify the spelling and diacritical markings, but very rarely have occasion to utter them out loud. And when I do, people look at me as though I’m speaking ancient Ugaritic.
  • Respond to demanding technophobic authors who insist on communicating exclusively in snail mail with replies written in ancient Ugaritic.
  • Write into the contracts of certain selected authors the clause that, when they submit their finished manuscripts, they be required to include in the package a case (“consisting of no fewer than twenty-four [24] bottles”) of Five-Hour Energy Drink.
  • Receive a bibliography that does not require any editing whatsoever.
  • Be standing at the Eerdmans author reception at the Society of Biblical Literature convention, in a conversational huddle comprising N. T. Wright, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Stanley Hauerwas, Miroslav Volf, John Dominic Crossan, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and say something so amusing that all of them burst out laughing simultaneously.

1 Comment

  1. If I could get into the company of the people on that last bullet point, I have the sure-fire way to say something so hilarious they all burst out laughing. “Do you read my blog?”

    That should do it.

    Take care & God bless
    Anne / WF


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