The best thing to do when you have made a mistake is to admit it and remove it from your “feeling stupid” list.
Just do it, get it over with and, perhaps, free up that used stupidity for applications elsewhere.
I therefore confess that it was my stupid mistake in last week’s paper when a letter to the editor from Carousel Hotel Group chief Michael James, ended with a parenthetical “The author is an Ocean City Councilman.”
He is not, of course, an Ocean City Councilman. That would be his son Matt, but for some reason, that’s not what I was hearing.
“Hi, this is Michael James,” said the voice on the other end of my phone.
“Hi, Matt. What’s up?”
“No, it’s Michael, and I have a late letter to the editor I was hoping you could get in for me this week.”
“Sure, Matt, I can handle that. Just email it to you me and I’ll see that it gets in.”
“Thanks, and just to be clear, this is Michael.”
“Got it, Matt. No problem.”
He sent it, I received it and proceeded to read it to be sure there were no glaring errors (yes, we do correct misspellings and such unless we really, really don’t like you, in which case it’s tough noogies. Just kidding), and stared at the signature: “Michael James.”
Having done what I thought was my standard good work, I called the office to report this late arrival for the letters section.
“Hey,” I said to the managing editor. “I’m sending you a letter for this week.”
“Who’s it from?”
“Matt James. Hold on a sec, I should make a note of that under the signature.”
“There, I’ve read it, fixed it and you can just put it on the page.”
And that was that.
A day later, however, I was rolling merrily along when I was smacked in the head with a big wad of stupid.
Understand, of course, there is stupid and then there is Stupid. I don’t mind looking stupid when I’m being that way on purpose.
For instance, I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve pulled an eight-pack of hotdogs from the freezer, held them to my lips and said to my audience of one, “Hello. My name is Zamfir and I’m playing the pan flute — ta-da, ta-da, ta-da.”
That’s funny stupid, or at least it is the first time. Evidently, it’s marginally amusing-stupid the second time, and, on the 78 other occasions, just plain stupid, or so I have been told.
For whatever reason, I equate making any kind of mistake in the paper with the latter. It’s inadvertently stupid and I can’t give you a good reason for it … except that it’s difficult to type when your hands are cold from playing a package of frozen hot dogs for the 79th time and hoping for a better outcome.
So please accept my apology for being stupid, Matt. It won’t happen again.
I mean, Michael.