Rejected copy editor comebacks
Carol Fisher Saller, the Subversive Copy Editor, writes in her characteristically restrained and civilized way about the way people should talk to copy editors at parties and other social events.
“Ask if she’d like another drink” is an excellent suggestion. “Uh-oh, I’d better watch my grammar!” is contraindicated.
Usually, it’s best not to disclose that you are a copy editor. People shrink away like a slug encountering salt. The ones who stay are the ones who are apprehensive that you’ll correct their wretched grammar or, worse, who want to exhibit their pet peeves to you. Better to say something like “I sell crack to schoolchildren” or something similarly innocuous.
Over the years I’ve toyed with a number of responses to “Uh-oh, I’d better watch my grammar!” and have managed to suppress them all. But this is a sharing blog. Here are some that I’ve swallowed, and you’re welcome to add yours.
“Uh-oh, I’d better watch my grammar!”
“Yes, do.” [Turns on heel, makes for the bar.]
“Why start now?”
“Oh, I doubt you could afford my fees.”
“Actually, you should be more apprehensive about that tie/suit/dress/hairdo.”
“It don’t make me no never mind.”