The First Minor Error in the Book

Last week, I got a call from a reporter who is working on an article for a website that features “untold human stories.” We had the initial interview on the 1st of May in Hongdae, and it seems that the article will be published as soon as he gets some final revisions done. For the revisions, the reporter needed to ask me a few more questions, and he called me after I was done with work on Thursday.

We have intensive classes in July, and I’ve been extremely tired lately, which led to particularly clumsy responses during the interview. I rambled and stumbled over words, and there were several awkward pauses where I assume the reporter was wondering if I was on drugs.

“So when you got the draft papers in the mail, can you tell me what was going on in your head? What was your reaction? How did you feel?”

It’s a simple question. I had a feeling of what he wanted to hear, but I couldn’t express myself properly. I started going on in detail about seeing the envelope in my mailbox and opening it at the hagwon and just being bewildered and not as concerned as I should be (which was the opposite of what I think he wanted to hear) because I didn’t think going to the Army was a possibility.

Inside the envelope were my draft papers and a notice from the Ministry of Justice barring my leaving the country, but as I started talking about what happened afterward, I realized that it couldn’t have been my actual draft papers. The draft papers I still have in a box in my apartment have the time and place where I was to report for my induction into the Army, but that couldn’t have been the paper in the envelope because I received that toward the end of the year while I was in the process of signing up for the US Army. I couldn’t have gotten the draft papers in September because the time and place was only decided after I had my physical sometime later in September or October.

So this is the first error in the book that I’ve found. There was something else in that envelope other than the notice from the Ministry of Justice. It must have been something akin to draft papers but not the actual draft papers, or at least not the draft papers that I still have on file.

It’s not a major error, but in writing the book, I wanted to be as accurate as possible. Oh well. I should’ve known that I would’ve fudged things considering that my memory is only slightly better than garbage. This is only the first error, but I’m sure there are plenty more. Nitpickers be gentle.

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2 Responses to The First Minor Error in the Book

  1. bighominid says:

    This sounds like a fact-checking error more than something a mere proofreader could have caught, so I’m going to take a rain check on crucifying myself for this gaffe. But from what you’ve written, it seems as though the error isn’t huge or tragic, and I think most readers will be forgiving: what autobiography is told by a perfectly reliable narrator? You certainly weren’t lying in what you wrote and published: a lie is, after all, a falsehood that deliberately aims to mislead the reader/listener. So I’d say you’ve acquired no negative karma from this, and you are, of course, free to revise and republish your manuscript before the error propagates itself too far. Not that it’s my right to absolve you of anything, of course… but this is just mon opinion.


    • Young says:

      Of course, it wasn’t a matter of proofreading. I’m not planning on changing it, however, because I don’t remember what was in the envelope and I don’t think it really matters.


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