When your eyes see something that’s not there

We generate two covers for our magazine each month: one that has a preprinted mailing label (for our subscribers) and one that is absent the mailing label (for our bulk distribution to hospitals, museums, etc.) Except for the label, the covers are pretty much the same.

Our proofreaders are given both covers to check. We have at least six proofreaders look at each issue, including me.

Apparently all six of us were stricken with some sort of bizarre, but temporary, blind spot. Because our April issue made it past each of us with nobody noticing a glaring error.

April is our summer day camps issue — an idea Raising Arizona Kids pioneered 22 years ago — so we’re pretty proud of it. We’ve watched lots of copycat efforts follow in its wake but I can say with great certainty that nobody take the time or care our staff puts into researching and fact-checking this annual directory, the Valley’s most comprehensive and unbiased (i.e. no one has to pay to be listed).

So you’d think we’d notice that something as important as our summer day camp directory wasn’t mentioned on the cover,  right?

But we missed it. Every one of us. Thankfully our printer didn’t miss it, and called the office to let us know so we could correct it before it was too late.

I wondered if there is a word for this phenomenon. How could six people all miss the same thing? I found the word “scotoma,” which is defined on WebMD as “an isolated area…within the visual field, in which vision is absent or depressed.”

But the only word I could find that defines “seeing something that’s not there” was “hallucination.” Needless to say, our collective embarrassment will likely prevent a recurrence.

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4 responses to “When your eyes see something that’s not there

  1. Jackie Paulson 1966

    Your printer noticed. Thank heavens for that. Wonderful real life story. We all have errors, and it’s okay, why does society have to make such a big deal out of it. God is perfect, we are human. If we have a typo we can fix it. If we have a typo and miss it, what is the big deal. It stands out…and makes us notice.

  2. Thank you, Jackie! I have a friend whose father is fighting cancer and I remind myself of her outlook on things when I start beating myself up for human errors like this. She say, “Nobody died. Nobody got diagnosed with cancer. It’s a good day.”

  3. Jackie Paulson 1966

    AMEN, so true, my saying is : “today is not your day to die.” Much blessings and prayers for you and yours.

  4. Karen: My theory? Everyone was busy admiring the two adorable children on the cover! — Lynn

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