One of the things I’m very good at is proofreading. Part of this, as you might expect, comes from the years I’ve spent writing and editing. But even when I’m not looking for typos, misspellings, or other mistakes, they jump out at me. I’ve found them in books, magazines, newspapers, and catalogs, as well as the dictionary and the phone book. I even saw an error once in the numbers on the side of a measuring cup.

I just found another one that surprised me, in a place I never would have expected it. It was on my calendar.

According to the calendar I keep on the desk in my office, last Sunday was February 9th, followed by Monday, February 8th. I noticed it when I glanced at the calendar to determine when I needed to mail a birthday card in order for it to arrive on time.

My initial reaction was to just shake my head and roll my eyes, wondering how something like that could happen. And then I found myself feeling annoyed, concerned, and even a little sad. At first I couldn’t figure out why. But then I realized it was the disappointment of discovering yet another place where I could no longer trust that information I counted on would be accurate.

That may sound a little harsh and dramatic. After all, the calendar misprint was no big deal. It wasn’t going to cause irreparable damage to my schedule or my life if I briefly and mistakenly thought that Sunday was the 9th or that Monday was the 8th. But what if it had been a typo or misprint in the numbers on a prescription label or an airline ticket? Or on complicated instructions for a do-it-yourself project, or detailed directions to an important meeting?

It used to be extremely rare for me to find a typo in a book I was reading. Now it’s extremely rare for me not to. And more and more, I find myself double-checking info and instructions that have been given to me because I don’t know how well I can trust the source of the information.

I’m not sure why this is, or why it seems to be getting worse and worse. Maybe it’s because people today are more rushed and less careful than in the past. Or because production quotas are increasing, while quality control is decreasing. Technology has replaced thinking in many ways and places, and “improvements” sometimes make things worse instead of better.

I find this all very discouraging, but I don’t intend to lose any sleep over the misprint on my calendar, or to start second-guessing the validity of everything I see, hear, or read. I will do whatever I can to verify the accuracy of the information I count on, but I’ll also continue to trust most of it, most of the time – because trust, when it’s earned and warranted, is one of the most valuable gifts we can give or receive. And it’s a positive and powerful force in our lives – on any day of the year.

No matter what the calendar says.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February12, 2015.
©Betty Liedtke, 2015

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