Many thanks to my pal Rita Ross from the Record’s copy desk, who showed me a wonderful typo in our Letters to the Editor (p. 9) of Monday, Aug. 2.
Written by an Elise Shapiro of Newburgh, the letter pointed out how folks around the city often “anonymously contribute to the well-being of our lives.” How true! And how awful that the letter said she’d seen her gardener working for free “on the pubic square … and stopped to say hello.” Read that again. Check the spelling of the word your brain registered as, “public.”
After reading that sentence — and climbing back up into my chair — my first thought was, “Yeah, I’d say hello too, if someone was working on my pubic square!”
It’s the quintessential copy-editor’s nightmare typo: dropping the “l” from “public.”
I don’t have the software to do this, but i know it exists, and I’m sure that if someone performed a concordance of words in the paper, “public” would turn out to be one of the most frequently used ones. I mean, the whole reason for our existence is to protect the public, be the watchdog of public officials, report on the use and misuse of public funds, and so on.
To be honest, I don’t think we drop the “l” often. But it’s exactly the kind of thing that would prevent poor Ms. Shapiro from clipping her otherwise perfectly lovely letter, and showing it to her grandchildren.
For the record (as it were): I don’t know who edits our Letters to the Editor, but it’s not the Night Copy Desk. (WHEW!)