November 9th, 2007

Everyone is Hilarious

Or maybe I’m just easily amused. You be the judge.

·         Today I called back a guy who had emailed me about a big event—World Day of the Sick—that I had never heard about. Which I readily confessed. And he—a very friendly car salesman who readily admitted that this PR schtick is all new to him—said, “Oh! For some reason I thought you may have had an inkling of what was going on.” Unfortunately, that made me laugh so hard I snorted, which probably did not improve my professional outlook.


·         On Cheryl Klein’s blog, I spotted a joke that rendered me nearly insensible. I wanted to call someone and tell it, but honestly, I don’t know that many people who would be as entertained by editing humor as I evidently am. (I tried telling an art director I know, and she politely laughed. That wasn’t the reaction I was going for.) So here you go:

Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: I can't tell whether you mean "change a light bulb" or "have sex in a light bulb." Can we reword it to remove the ambiguity?


Here’s some others I enjoyed:


Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Does it HAVE to be a light bulb?

Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The last time this question was asked, it involved art directors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.


·         I turned in a story to two editors this week (standard procedure for one of my gigs). When I turned it in, I sent along a photo. I also mentioned that one of my interviewees had tried to email me, and told me that the email address didn’t work. When I checked, I realized it was because the dang address is so long it trails onto a second line, and had therefore been hyphenated, and the interviewee must have assumed the hyphen was part of the address. Here is Editor A’s response to my email:

“I'll check the hyphen. Perhaps the reader could also join the in crowd of people who know the hyphen at the end of a line isn't part of the e-mail address. [OUCH!] As for [volunteer photographer’s] photo, please let her know that we don't run out-of-focus photos and it's important for her to get up close and personal, not far away and unobtrusive.” [Wow! Did he have a fight with his wife that morning or what?]


Here is Editor B’s response:


“The photo's awfully blurry, so I don't think we'll be able to use it. Sorry about the hyphen; sometimes an address falls at the end of the sentence, and it gets split by the program. We'll look out for it next time.” [I learn a lot about tone, voice, and word choice from communicating with real people. I can only hope those lessons come across in my fantasy novel.]


·         One day this week, someone from the art department came to the little room I use when I have to go into the office I sometimes have to go into. And she sat in the chair in front of my desk, and I prepared for an earnest discussion about making the printer deadline (which is next week). But instead she said this:

“I was thinking that some letters are really important. Like M. You could really have an entire conversation using only M. ‘Mmmm.’ ‘Mm-mmm!’ ‘M!’” When she saw that I was beyond speech (and indeed, beyond snorting, perhaps even nearing the Final Stage of Laughter as defined by one of my friends from high school: Death), she just got up and left. But boy, her theory lingers on. I intend to test it later today.


·         Oh—and here’s one you wouldn’t expect: a funny priest. I was at an editorial council meeting (for a Catholic pub), and someone made an affectionate joke about Our Lady of Lourdes being a hard worker, or a homemaker—I don’t remember what the set-up was. But then this priest comments quietly, “I think Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Guadalupe should challenge each other in the Betty Crocker Bake-Off.” Okay, put in black-and-white like that, it looks a little blasphemaous maybe. But let me just say, the editorial council meeting had to pause until I could contain myself. And that priest looked pretty happy that I found him so entertaining. Look at me, spreading the joy!


May you encounter many hilarious remarks today, too!

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