Monday, December 17, 2012

In the Line of Duty

A forgetful actor might ask, "What's my line?" I am no thespian, so those words have never crossed my lips. If I were an actor, would they? Allow me to see if my acting chops will, pardon the pun, cut it. I will be playing the part of a proofreader at Sports Illustrated. It's my first acting gig, so bear with me.


It's holiday time in New York City. Christmas is looming. Inside the midtown offices of Sports Illustrated, deadlines are looming. The SI editors are busy prepping their final issue for the year. An article about the sports figures who have passed away in the last 12 months has been laid out, printed and moved to the copy-editing department. A senior editor pops his head into an immaculate, organized office.

                    Owen, here's that article on the 2011 deaths. Take a look.
                    Work your usual magic. We can send this issue to the printer
                    when you're done.

                    Sure thing, boss.

Owen takes the proofs, props his feet up on the Mahogany desk in his Time & Life Building office and gets to work, oblivious to the Manhattan hustle and bustle outside his window. He's focused on the task at hand. He reviews the first three pages of the 16-page story for typographical and formatting errors. Then, the phone rings.


                    May I please speak with Owen?

                    This is he.

                    Hi, Owen. This is Jennifer Love Hewitt. I'm a big fan and, well,
                    I've got a bit of a crush on you. I'm in the Big Apple for another
                    couple of hours before I head back to Los Angeles, and I was
                    wondering if you'd like to get together for coffee or something.

                    Oh, Jennifer, that's so sweet. I'd love to, but I've got some
                    proofreading to do. I'm really sorry. Perhaps another time.
                    Thanks for the offer though.

                    Well, you can't blame a girl for trying. I'll give you a ring the
                    next time I'm in town. Keep up the great work at Sports
                    Illustrated and with When Write Is Wrong. Bye.

Jennifer hangs up, and Owen, with his priorities in place, resumes his proofreading duties. The assignment goes smoothly, and Owen quickly makes it to the last page of the 16-page article. That's when he spots it.

                                   OWEN (talking aloud to himself)
                    A forgetful actor might ask, "What's my line?" I have to ask,
                    "Where's my line?" What happened to the line between the
                    Jim Northrup entry and the Rick Rypien entry?

Owen inserts a proofreader mark to let the editors know a line is missing. A few minutes later he finishes reviewing the article. After initialing the pages and returning them to his boss, Owen glances at his watch and notices that he got through the article quicker than he thought he would. He picks up the phone, accesses the last incoming call he received and presses redial.

                    Hello, Jennifer, this is Owen...

No comments:

Post a Comment