|The cover of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Official Movie Guide' (my scan)
Minus his beard, long hair, wrinkles, shape of face, and hair and eye color, I look pretty grim, too. For there is a wrong to be righted. I may alienate some people. I may not make any new friends ever. I may cause mass rioting somewhere on a logging road in the North Woods. But this is something that must be done for all those people who have suffered what I have borne in my life: the grievous error of a misspelled name.
My name looks simple. I mean, it is right in your face up there atop this blog because I couldn't think of anything better to write. Six letters for the first name, five for the second. Nevertheless, it's a name that is misspelled by lots of folks. Most can't even say it. The first time my name was in print in the local newspaper, it wasn't my name. It was misspelled.
It is likely the only sane explanation for why I became a writer and editor. At a newspaper.
What in the blue blazes have I got to do with this book, you ask.
|Page 45, location of the grievous error
I made a promise to myself (probably as a child, but I can't remember if that is actually true) that I would try my best -- yes, my very best -- to make sure people's names are spelled correctly. But days ago, and this I do vaguely recall, I made a vow to a complete stranger that I would do what you are about to read.
I would correct his misspelled name.
I happened across a completely private conversation in the Land Where 140 Characters Reign between two "people" I "follow" so I can eavesdrop. They "follow" me, too. Which is suspicious, I know.
It was there I saw the words that set off every alarm in my addled head. One person was happy to have seen the other person's name in the aforementioned book. The one with the name in the book replied that it was misspelled.
I sat there in dumb silence. And then frantically butted into the conversation by asking how anyone could misspell his name.
"I know, never mind...," he wrote, handily keeping within the 140-character count.
Then and there I vowed to him and the "people" in the Land Where 140 Characters Reign that I would right this wrong when I got my hands on my copy of the book.
"No probs," he replied; I could feel his pain. When he posted "Ha Ha!" moments after I typed of my plan to assist, I knew he was suffering.
You may be wondering, kind of off topic in my opinion but I know how people's minds can wander and you are likely still reeling from his heartfelt expression of emotion and need a moment to get yourself under control ... Wait, where was I?
Oh, yeah, how do I happen to have any sort of contact with someone whose name might be in a book about the biggest movie in the universe?
Well, I am wondering that, too, but I have found a lot of things are not as they should be in the Land Where 140 Characters Reign.
I somehow "met" someone who followed someone who someway came across Mark Atkin, one of the 13 lads who are the small-scale doubles to the company of Dwarves in the greatest show on Earth. And so I "followed" him and for some crazy reason he probably is regretting -- again -- right about now, he "followed" me back.
Now that we have recovered our sensibilities, it is time to right this wrong.
Here it is.
|The grievous error
That is seriously bad. See, it's right there. Horrible. I feel your pain, Mark.
OK, I get the feeling some of you are not following me here. So here's an arrow.
|The grievous error highlighted in Photoshop with an obvious arrow
Still don't see it? Mark Atkin, people. There is only one of him. Not a plural.
My plan was simple: Take my handy and brilliantly red, felt-tipped marker and correct his name by using that age-old trick from back in the day when copy was edited by hand and papers delivered by mule train.
I would do a swervy thingamabob and edit the grievous error out like it was never there in the first place.
I had to do this right, however. I owed it to Mark. So I practiced for a while.
|Practiced standard copy editing mark to signal removal of a character, first on scrap paper and then on photocopies. Twice for good measure and to waste paper.
The scrap-paper version does look a little shaky at times, while the two on the photocopies were better but still slightly tentative. But after a laborious 10 seconds of practice, I was ready to act because this needed to be done. Now.
I flexed my fingers, picked up the pen, opened to page 45 and DEFACED MY BRAND NEW BOOK.
At this point, I didn't want to smudge the ink onto the other page where there was a nice picture that was not of Mark, so I blew on the swervy thingamabob, thinking it looked pretty solid.
Then I laid down my sword, er, pen and took this picture of the triumphant correction in my now defaced tome.
|The page, corrected, with editor's best weapon, a red PaperMate Flair
If you are angling for a closeup of this wonder, here you go.
|Note the clear line and easy curve in the swervy thingamabob.
When you say "Ha Ha!," my friend in 140-blah-blah land, I feel your pain.
This soliloquy with illustrative pictures is being posted with a mighty big thank you to Mark Atkin, who probably is now going to unfollow, block and report me for spam in the Land Where 140 Characters Reign. And if he doesn't, then he is a prince among men, which makes him a most excellent choice as the small-scale double for Thorin Oakenshield in "The Hobbit" trilogy. I promise I will attempt to determine when you are on screen and squeal appropriately. Also, I will do a convincing standing ovation during the credits. Congratulations, Marc, oh, Marck, er, Marko. Whatever.
Yup, Mr. Atkin, this soliloquy would be the smiley face I promised. I refuse to deface my book any further.