One check too few

Mary Slepicka
Publish Date: 
Jun 29, 2011
By Mary Slepicka

Typo. It’s shorthand for typographical error. It’s what happens when not enough checks are in place, when not enough eyes are on a page, when it’s past deadline and the file is sent to the printer without that one…last…look. It will be okay. Everyone saw it, right?

Typos can be comedic. “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Forget to put a space between two words in that sentence and you’ll be reminded of it for the rest of your life, or at least your career. (And no, it wasn’t me.)

Typos can be irritating. A flopped image on a spec sheet puts the clutch on the wrong side of the bike. Whoops! Time to reprint. (Also, not me.)

Typos can be disastrous. Misplace a decimal point in a court document and all of a sudden a defendant owes a plaintiff millions instead of thousands. (Again, not me.)

Typos can be ludicrous. Imagine writing that Hawaii is “situated at the shipping crossroads of the Atlantic.” (Okay, that was me.)

Writers, reporters and editors make a living off words. The correct words. The applicable words. The inspiring, engaging words. Even though they also may be powersports enthusiasts or physics geeks or haute cuisine aficionados, when they sit down to write they still must face the words.

Sometimes, the words slip by. Not often, thank goodness, but it happens. And when it does, writers, reporters and editors stop. All is silent. The confidence is shaken. And then the expletives fly.

Typos are life’s little reminders that one small mistake makes a big difference. Anyone who’s been in a crash knows that. On the upside, I once heard that the name "Google" started out as a typo. We should be so lucky.

Today the July issue arrived. As we flipped through the pages, we congratulated ourselves for another job well done. A great story on a big Colorado dealership. A heart-wrenching tale of survival from a tornado-stricken town. Lots of new information on business services. Hear, hear. Kudos to all.

And then, there it was. The typo. The typo not hidden in the back third of the magazine but right there on the cover. The typo not in a second-hand position but in the main headline. The typo in the word most important to this industry. The typo.

Could it be that the industry’s largest team of business editors can’t spell the word motorcycle? Yes, we can. There, I just proved it.

But evidently on that early June morning when we were rushing to print, we failed. And for that, we apologize. We’ve corrected the cover on the digital version and we’re sending new, complimentary copies to our cover dealer in one massive message of mea culpa. We hope they’ll forgive us, and we hope you’ll forgive us, too. We promise to do better.