Today we live in a generous, enlightened age. Happily, we understand that school boys and girls innately comprehend the highest reaches of literature, science and math—they aren’t simply empty vessels to be filled by caveman exercises like reading from a book. A similar enlightenment extends to adult readers, who are no longer belittled by having their role confined to simply reading. Technology makes readers feel like engaged participants in what they read, or, because reading literary masterpieces should be about more than reading words on paper, the book itself actually comes alive in their hands. Readers of mine can comment on and share my work, but I want more for my small, noble following. That’s why I’ve decided to create a little treasure hunt in every post from now on. It’s just like a real treasure hunt, only instead of hunting for gold booty you’re looking for shoddy work.
Hidden somewhere in every future post is a “mistake.” It might be a typo, a factual error, bungled research, or perhaps a ghastly howler like failing to join a coordinating conjunction to an independent clause with a comma. It’s a wild game! Anything can happen.
So, read future posts with a fine-toothed comb, and keep a record of all the “errors” you find. Be sure to store your record in a safe place, because one day I’ll ask my readers to report back all the “mistakes” they’ve found. The reader with the longest list gets a special, secret prize! In order to keep the excitement at fever pitch, I won’t disclose the prize now, but I can promise you that it’s either both very expensive and prestigious or very thoughtful.
Also, double points will be awarded to those who go backwards and find errors in already published articles. Having a hunch that I’d hold a contest just like this, I intentionally planted mistakes in my pieces all along. As a tip, when you’re deciding exactly where in my back catalogue to dive in, pieces where I defend the values of things like corporal punishment, eugenics and pop-culture are ripe for error.
In a piece of private fan-mail I once received, one very sharp reader said of my work: “The mistakes and misstatements in it form an uninterrupted series so complete as to seem artistic in reverse, making one wonder if, perhaps, it had not been woven that way on purpose to be turned into something pertinent and coherent when reflected through a looking glass.” I have contacted this astute reader, V Sirine, and awarded him one point, and consoled him that, yes, my blunders are indeed high-art.
So next time you come across a mistake in a blog, anywhere, remember that bloggers are devoted craftsman, like me, and the “mistake” of my peers was surely just planted on the sly in preparation for a similar treasure hunt to take place in the future. Yes, we do all kinds of things for our readers.
Post-Script: as you likely guessed, there is one mistake in the above piece. Let the hunt begin!