Yesterday I sent out a few additional Christmas greetings (the bulk of them were mailed last week). As I did so I read through our Christmas letter again, something which in the process of writing, editing, proofreading, printing and mailing I must have already done dozens of times. This time, however, I read the letter as a recipient might--uncritically, not looking for errors, but simply receiving the news contained therein.
How ironic, then, that on this reading I found an overlooked typo. Oh, no! How could I have missed it? It was right there in the second paragraph: not a misspelling or a punctuation or grammatical error but instead, a missing word. In all my previous readings of the letter my brain, which knew the word that should have been there, had simply filled it in. Repeatedly.
And to think I used to call myself an English teacher. And that I used to get paid for proofreading other people's stuff! (These days I just do it for free.)
I don't know if I will ever be able to trust my eyes (or my brain) again.