Open The Chumbox

6 min readSep 15, 2017

While I was trying to google “How to watch the GGG-Canelo Alvarez fight for free” this afternoon, Claire, the clerk, walked into my office and asked if we could buy some plants.

“No,” I said.

“Why not?” She asked.

“Because we can’t afford a copy editor, and without a copy editor, who is going to water the plants?”

“I’ll water the plants,” she said.

“Are you a copy editor?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

“Then it won’t work. You will keep them alive while you are here, but then you’ll get sick or go on vacation and the plants will die. A copy editor would harass someone into watering the plants even if they were not here, and people would do it because copy editors can get people to do things they don’t want to do. It’s like a super power they have.”

“Why don’t we start publishing things behind the paywall and then we will have the money to hire a copy editor?” Claire asked.

“Hah! That won’t work. It’s a catch-22.” I said, “You can’t put things behind a paywall if you don’t copy edit them. Nobody is going to pay to read a bunch of comma splices, mispellings, punctuation errors, and fucked up dialogue. Before you can ask people to pay for things you have to at least get rid of the egregious errors. Anyone here want to do that?”

I raised my voice for the last questions so that I was sure Pee Wee and the folks down the hall in editorial could hear me. I knew they could because they listen to all of my conversations through the access I gave my phone’s microphone on Instagram. Pee Wee didn’t even look up from his Korean newspaper. Claire was about to say something, but then good sense got a hold of her and she ate what she was about to say. I think she learned her lesson at the last staff meeting when she said, “I know how to make a pivot table.”

“Besides,” I said, “Dreck wants to be free.” Then I thought, “That should be a pull-quote.”

Dreck wants to be free.

“That’s a really shitty pull-quote,” Claire said.

“Well, when you have no editorial restraint, dreck happens. This post right here is like pure publishing Id. Such nonsense has a place in the world, and…


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