What I Hated the Least Today 51/365: Proofreading

051I received a proofreading request from my old (but young) colleague today. His email opened with standard salutation Dear Doctor Mara. That’s about right, but three months later, I still giggle and blush when addressed by my title. Classic imposter syndrome.

The text submitted for proofreading horrified me. Not by the amount of errors, but by a lack of them. On page four, I still couldn’t find anything amiss at all. It was frustrating because I know that no text exists that wouldn’t require proofreading. I started to suspect that I turned blind.

Fifteen pages later, though, everything was alright. The text proved to provide a satisfactory harvest of inconsistent capitalisation, missing italics, misplaced commas and messed up alphabetisation. With relief, I returned the proofread text at 2:17 am because my colleague, unlike my former students, never suspects that I’m drunk emailing when I send a message in the middle of the night.

On this pleasant note, I’m paying tribute to fellow night-shift workers (including illicit moonlighters, which is my case) and particularly to my colleague Richard (name changed). I would marry him solely for his knowledge of Chicago Style (though lesser than mine), if he weren’t gay.


Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

23 thoughts

  1. DOCTOR Mara ! Wow – I’m honoured (really, I am 🙂 to make your acquaintance…. Seriously though, it takes a lot of hard work to earn that title, so wear it with pride. It’s a great achievement. In what field ?


    1. Oh dear, I’m so surprised by the positive responses to this post! I mean, it’s an intellectually arrogant, self-centered piece, I hated it the moment I wrote it, but I thought, oh well, it’s about my day, which meets the challenge I set for myself, so let it stand…

      I have a PhD in English Literature, specialisation in Scottish Literature. It’s pretty useless, but in a culture like mine, where we’re obsessed with academic titles, it’s proven surprisingly helpful in earning me more respect, especially when dealing with institutions. It’s good when people are nicer to you, even on wrong grounds.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m forever surprised at the posts that resonate with readers! I too have a useless uni degree – but it got me into other courses which I loved and were valuable for my career.


        1. Oh, what’s your degree in? The humanities? Sure, it’s not a complete waste of time to pursue a degree, but one has to keep in mind that a degree doesn’t equal the prospect of getting a job. This aspect of university study was somewhat downplayed when I enrolled to study, so I had some misled expectations.


    1. I don’t feel cool, I feel the same as always, which is why I’m always surprised when addressed respectfully as doctor…

      I’m the owl type, so I usually go to bed around 4 am. That’s of course only possible because I’m unemployed/work from home. I so much appreciate it that I don’t have to get up early.


    1. Haha, well, it’s not much of a shocking revelation, I had nothing better to write about yesterday, so I just went for a little free-writing capturing what I was up to that day 🙂 Yep, my degree is in English Literature. I don’t recommend it. It has no practical use, besides being flattered when people address you with the title 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Doctor Mara,
    It’s 5AM your time … don’t tell me you’ve gone to sleep LOL

    I agree with the above comment; wear your title with pride — it’s quite the achievement.


    1. Haha, I went to be earlish, after 4 am… And I’m quite surprised that my self-praising post received such positive feedback. Who would want to listen to a person bragging, right 😉 ?


      1. Heheh!!! I’ve been on detox for twelve years, so I’m more or less over that. I could even say something good about myself, if I came up with something.

        Maybe I’ll try it next time I go there … say something like »well … you know, I’m a very good driver!« They’ll nail me to a pole in the town square LOL. No, all joking aside, they would just nod and smile but thinking inside »Who the Hell does she think she IS?!«


        1. But being a good driver is a great skill and one that takes a lot to learn! I’m a rather bad driver – not assisted by the fact that I don’t drive – the driving itself is ok but I never figured out parking.

          The trouble with the approach banning self-praise is that at job interviews, you are expected to sell your skills. I usually tend to underestimate and undersell myself completely. But I’m trying to practise the art of self-praise on the blog 😉


          1. Yes, that has been the big problem … job interviews! People have been able to list 100 negative sides, but no positive. With the last, at least, two generations, I believe this is changing … Also: so many kids go to the States as exchange students, and get back with a whole different outlook on things.


          2. True. Reminds me when my schoolmate came back from the US with a whole different outlook – and a whole different figure. They must’ve been feeding her junk food all the time.


          3. For how long was she there? There’s some kind of manipulated glucose-whatever, that they put in everything. There are different ‘schools’, but many tend to believe this stuff does something to the brain, so you won’t feel when you’re full … you’ll just keep on eating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup It’s not allowed in Europe, at least not as far as I know … and there’s been [and is] a lot of hoopla about this.


          4. That’s rather scary. She’s been there for half a year, which is relatively short, but it was enough. At least, she didn’t seem particularly upset and she returned gradually to her previous weight after a while… It must have been local food.


          5. That stuff is in almost all processed food, no matter what it is. I’ve tried to really read up on this, to get an educated opinion … because it’s so difficult to avoid. But then again … I haven’t gained all that much, considering it’s been twelve years. The reason I’ve gained weight is lack of exercise … almost entirely.


          6. Sadly, I haven’t figured out why I gained weight in the last year. I’m probably prospering. Provisionally, I blame the adverse effects of age.


          7. If I could just pull myself together, and get out and walk … things would look up. But, as we’ve talked about before … walking for its own sake — without goal, I just can’t do it.


          8. Walking is boring. I’m equally surprised and proud of myself that I’ve been managing to keep my daily yoga practice since the new year. It wasn’t a resolution – I hate these – but sort of a wish… But don’t feel pressured to try that.


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