If you ever watched the popular Headlines bit on the Tonight Show, where Jay Leno shows what should be blatant typos and misprints in newspapers, you might wonder how anybody could be so dumb as to let something like that slip through.
Trust me, it happens all too easily. After a lifetime in the small town newspaper business, I know that no matter how carefully you proofread and how sure you are that there are no errors, as soon as something hits the pressroom, the gremlins go to work and everything goes to hell.
I’m proud to say that one of my own newspaper front page headlines once made Jay Leno’s show, when I referred to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (their name for the Highway Patrol), as the Department of Pubic Safety. I missed it when I typed the headline, the spell checker didn’t catch it, the proofreader missed it, the two girls laying out the newspaper missed it, and the guys in the pressroom missed it. But the moment the paper hit the newsstands, everybody spotted it and the phone started ringing off the hook!
Even knowing that things like this happen all of the time, I was still kicking my own butt yesterday when Brenda Speidel noticed a conflict in room assignments on the rally schedule. I never saw it, Miss Terry never noticed it when she proofed the schedule, nor did Brenda when she also proofed it. That would be too easy. We had to wait until after I had paid for hundreds of copies of the schedule to be printed before we caught the error. What can I say? My buddies back home in Arizona would have just shaken their heads and said “Nick happens.”
Speaking of schedules, I had another of those frustrating things happen yesterday that give Bad Nick justification for coming out, but then it turned comic, and eventually worked out okay.
Several weeks ago I called the V.A. hospital in Lexington, Kentucky to make an appointment for my annual medical exams. Because my Primary Care provider recently retired, I had to be assigned to a new medic, and the appointment was set for October 5, right after our rally. Yesterday I received a notice in the mail telling me to call and schedule my appointment, so I called back to tell them I already had.
The lady on the phone said she did not see me on the schedule, and after checking, she said there had been an error and my appointment had been entered for a different patient, who doesn’t even have the same Primary Care provider. Then she said she the next opening available to me was October 29.
That would have really messed up our travel plans, and I asked her why they couldn’t take out the wrong patient’s name and insert mine into that timeslot instead, and she said because it was already taken by the other patient. “But he doesn’t see that Primary,” I told her, “So he won’t show up, because he doesn’t know he has that appointment scheduled. All you have to do is change names, I show up as originally scheduled, and all is good.” She started to tell me again that the time slot was already filled, but about that time I dropped the telephone, and when I went to pick it up, I managed to push the disconnect button.
I immediately called back, reached another clerk, and told her what I had done and that I didn’t want the first lady to think I was being rude and had hung up on her. She said no problem, she’d pass that on, and they’d see me October 29.
The call ended, and just as I was telling Miss Terry that our travel schedule was going to have to change, the phone rang again, and it was the original clerk, who said after she lost my call, she started to tell another clerk about this stubborn patient who “just didn’t get it,” when suddenly it hit her that yes, she could just delete the phantom patient’s name and put mine back in the original time slot, since he didn’t see that Primary anyway! What can you do but laugh? All’s well that ends well.
Dropping my phone and then disconnecting my call wasn’t my only telephone adventure yesterday. I think I’m phone challenged.
Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour were here, and Chris was checking out my Blackberry Storm. After they left, I returned a phone call that had been interrupted earlier. As I was talking, I started moving some pillows around on the couch and rummaging around on my desk. Terry asked what I was looking for, so I asked the person on the other end to hold on a second, and then told her “My phone. I don’t know where Chris put it when she was done looking at it.”
She gave me one of those looks you usually reserve for the village idiot, or my weird cousin Terry up in Michigan, and then said “Dear, you’re talking on your phone. It’s up against your ear.”
What can I say? Nick happens.
Thought For The Day – If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?