I recently met a gentleman who hauls trash for a living. Well, not trash per se, but junk. He hauls junk for a living.
He showed up to haul away an old couch of mine, and while his partner fiddled with some paperwork, he asked me, “So what do you do?”
I get this question a lot, and since I do so many things within Solidus, unless someone is genuinely interested in everything I do, I usually answer simply, “I’m a proofreader.” So that’s what I told this gentleman.
“A proofreader?” he replied.
“Yes, a proofreader.”
“Whazzat?” was his response.
“You’ve never heard of proofreading?”
He shook his head.
“Well, I read through and find errors in copy.”
This seemed to turn on a dim bulb over his head. “Oh, you make copies?”
“No, I read through copy. You know? Like text?”
“Oh,” he nodded sagely. “You send texts?”
(I know how this sounds, but this was the actual conversation.)
“No, no,” I said patiently. “Um … you know how when you’re reading a book?”
He nodded, but without conviction.
“And sometimes you find a typo?”
He nodded again. “So you type books?”
Was he only hearing the last word of every sentence?
I was starting to think the couch would never be hauled away, so I said, “Forget it. I’m an anthropologist.”
“Oh,” he said. Then after a pause: “Good money in that?”
By Steve Boudreault