Peering over the shoulders of the brothel newsletter’s editors each day, it finally dawned on me that a person’s editing style is a component of their psychological makeup. Based on my observations—field research, if you will—I methodically codified certain basic personality traits by matching my coworkers’ various methods of typo correction to their respective psychological tendencies. Of course only a certain kind of person is drawn to publish a brothel newsletter at all. Through the years there were always those who questioned, right to my face, the legitimacy of a brothel newsletter, but to those people I posed the question: which brothels have you been soliciting? Certainly not one that has to its name three Peabody Awards for Excellence in Cathouse Media. The Receptive Feline is not your father’s brothel, and that’s all I have to say on that matter.
Now, I was speaking specifically about the significance of the manner by which a person goes about correcting typos, as casual a gesture as it is. In fact it’s precisely because so little thought is involved that it’s so illustrative of one’s behavioral model. Insofar as this is the case, there are several distinct personality types worth mentioning.
The first is Annette who, when she notices a typing mistake, simply taps the cursor back to the transposed letters and corrects them. This surgical method of correction belies a confidence of character, but also a certain listlessness of soul. Social conformists, these types have no interest in exploring the circuitous route. Every problem has a single solution. They are moral absolutists, but only out of convenience. They fall down when punished, and do not get up again. They just look up at you from the floor with their resigned cow eyes, as if to say, “I knew it was you.”
Jeremy belongs to a sub-branch of the first group. He is the type of person who, upon spying the erroneous character, continues typing until the cursor wraps to the next line. When it approaches the error above, he deftly taps the Up button, corrects the error, and then moves the cursor back down, thus preserving energy. It’s all about efficiency through proximity. This is the type of person who does their chores only when they’re in the immediate vicinity of the tools necessary to complete the job. The cleanest place in this person’s house is the area immediately around the vacuum cleaner. Unlike the first personality type, these people are smug. They will try to deflect your scorn, and attempt to move out of the way of your shoves. Once they are on the floor, however, they will regard you with grudging acceptance.
Dawn, the third person in my editorial bestiary, has no time to wait for the cursor to backtrack. She selects the entire faulty word with the mouse and then retypes it in place, even if it’s finger-contortingly multisyllabic. This type doesn’t care about efficiency, as long as the ill-formed word is quickly excised from memory. Obviously these are people who have something to hide, and will do whatever is necessary to avoid humiliation, even if it is rightful, and they have it coming to them because of how they tried to end a relationship, for example. When shoved, these people are likely to grow indignant, their cheeks becoming mottled and ruddy, and you’ll be able to detect the bilious scent of alcohol wafting from their saturated membranes.
Upon committing the typographic slip, Paolo, the fourth type, simply knuckles down the delete key until the cursor arrives back at the point of error. Thus, every word between the cursor’s last position and the erroneous word are lost to the ether. These people are sociopaths, and should be avoided at all costs, operating as they do only toward avoidance of physical punishment, or deference to power. I’ve found that electricity is effective at keeping their behavior in check, be it via the nearest electrical compliance baton, or through a jimmied banker’s lamp. Nothing fancy though—advanced sonic weapons, which merely cause the internal organs to vibrate, only antagonize these editors. They are not squeamish. They delete, and their jaws still clench reflexively even after they are rendered unconscious.
There is actually a final class of editor, and here I’m referring to Dale. Quite rare to the modern brothel, his type doesn’t even attempt to correct their typos, not even through force of habit. Every “teh” and “ytou” and “oput” remains exactly as it was typed, blighting their screens like sores on the gums of a meth addict. These people have no regard for right or wrong simply because they lack the brain capacity to grasp such abstractions. Indeed, they are barely human; a sub-species, if you will, of the modern editor. Fortunately, they are regularly promoted to managerial positions, by which point the amount of time they spend before a keyboard has long since dwindled to nothing. No one notices should they go missing. At least not for about a week.
People are mess-makers by design, I’ve found that to be true wherever life takes me, but much can be learned by observing how we deal with our garbage. And in fact I’m now finding that the editors of the penitentiary newsletter share many of the same profiles as the brothel editors did, which provides me with much satisfaction.
» “Bells” (09 of Dec, 2006)
» “Compulsion” (04 of Feb, 2005)
» “Saving Face” (15 of May, 2004)