Proofreading Fail!

Proofreading Fail!


This story takes place way back in 4th grade. In our classroom, passing notes was against the rules, as it is in most classrooms. To get around that, we would go to our favorite desks in the classroom that were located in the back of the room. What made these two desks special was that the top of them had cubicle-like partitions so that whomever was sitting in them wouldn’t be distracted by those around. The true secret of what we fondly named “the cubby desk” was that you could pass notes between the front of the partition to the person on the other side, thusly creating a great cover for our note passing exploits.

One particular day, I was sitting at the cubby desk with a boy in my class that I’ll call James for the purpose of this story. James and I had a bit of a frenemy type relationship. We were cool with each other overall, but we had a habit of cracking jokes at each other, and sometimes it would get out of hand. That morning, we started joshing around that morning at breakfast in the lunchroom, and it continued back in class. We were passing notes to one another at the cubby desk. At first, the jokes were tame, but it quickly escalated to “Yo Momma” jokes. He had some pretty good ones that day, and so did I, but at some point he crossed the line. To be honest, I don’t remember what he said, but it really didn’t matter. After making that wisecrack, I was mad!

I made it up in my mind then and there that I was through with him, and that I was going to let him know just how much I loathe him. Then I came up with the harshest way to convey the message that my 4th grade self could and passed him a note saying, “I really don’t like you!” I was so blinded by my anger at his previous insult that I didn’t take the time to double check what I had written.

When I passed it to him, it took him a while to come back with his response. It took so long, in fact, that I got up to make sure that he was even still sitting on the other side. He was just sitting there staring at the note. Before I could say anything he asked me to sit back down on the other side so that he could pass me his response, so I did. He passed it back, and it read, “Really? I like you too!”

I was like, “What?” What in the world was he talking about? I didn’t like him! Then I reread what I wrote, and it turns out that I left out a rather important word, don’t. When I sent the letter, it just said that I liked him instead of it saying that I didn’t! I was mortified! I quickly rewrote it and said that I didn’t like him, but it was too late. The damage was done. He wouldn’t accept any revisions to my accidental confession of puppy love. By the time that I could even gather my thoughts, he was already going around the classroom showing off the note and proclaiming that he and I were an item.

There was nothing that I could do. James was a stubborn fool. He refused to hear any of the many proclamations of my extreme hatred and disgust for him. He would just pull out that note and remind me of what I wrote. It didn’t make any difference to him that it was a total mistake.

Let’s just say that I learned my lesson from this experience. I proofread everything from term papers to text messages still to this day due to that incident. I NEVER want anything like that to happen again. He followed me around literally from that day until we graduated from elementary school and went to middle school, and the only reason that he left me alone then was because we were in two different classes, so he couldn’t keep tabs on me.

Please, learn from my early mistake and proofread anything you write, no matter how small. Trust me, it can save you a huge headache in the end!

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