Doing the reading (was: Best Books 2002)

Margaret Ball margaret at
Mon Jan 13 17:58:30 EST 2003

>The only story I have about people getting snippy about proofreading errors
>is kind of a ridiculous one.  My first semester at college, I was using an
>old Apple IIc computer (this was in 1990) and of course there were no
>printers readily available.  But I had a friend who also had a IIc and her
>own printer, so I used to trot up to her dorm to print my stuff. 
Oh, poor you! <g>

 Back in the times when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I TYPED my 
dissertation. Twice, since the university required two copies and 
carbons weren't acceptable. (If anybody on the list doesn't know what 
carbon copies are, write to me and I'll tell them what we used back when 
the world was new.)

It was not fun.

Come to think of it, the entire process of writing the dissertation was 
one of those major life experiences, like raising teenage daughters or 
surviving a coup in a Third World country, that helps you realize the 
rest of life isn't so bad after all.

But to the point: At my dissertation defense, one of the dinosaurs took 
offense because I hadn't cited his favorite authority on the subject. In 
Chapter 1. He agreed to pass the dissertation only if I agreed to go 
back and insert a paragraph about his buddy, which would have meant 

So I said, "Oh yes, Professor X, anything you say, Professor X, I'll go 
straight off and do that, Professor X," and left the defense meeting and 
did absolutely nothing. I figured either he'd forget to check on it and 
I'd get by, or he'd remember to check on it and I'd get thrown out and 
could get an honest job washing dishes somewhere, which at the time was 
beginning to look more attractive than being an assistant professor 

As far as I know he never did check on it; at least, they still haven't 
come around to take back the diploma, and as you may have gathered, it's 
been (ahem) several years since all this happened.

Margaret Ball

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