Sunday, June 7, 2009

Learning from your mistakes

Years ago, I wrote a story about a guy going into a sports hall of fame. Don't remember who it was or the HofF.

Anyway, I wrote that he'd gotten his just deserts, he'd gone into the HofF. Fine.

When I got back to the office, I found that the copy editors had turned just deserts into just desserts. Actually, just deserts is correct. I looked it up, made a copy of the dictionary page and left it in my friend's mail slot; he'd edited the story. The dictionary said that just deserts had the same root as deserves, so I knew I was right.

The next day, I found the same piece of paper in my mail slot, with a not-so-nice euphemism scrawled on it in big letters. We weren't really friendly for a few days, but we got over it. Probably 15 years later, we're in different states, but we exchange regular emails. In fact, I just sent him an email about a story on a man who coached his favorite NFL team, then coached my team.

But I did learn from the error. Never use just deserts in a story — unless some chef is being honored, and just desserts will have a double meaning — and never show your friend up with a dictionary.

Contact: Email me at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

Entries from The Dog Blog

Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

No comments:

Post a Comment