Another Silly Typing Error

The nature of typing is such that
there are none but silly errors to make:
renowned only for pettiness and an appearance of stupidity.
I don’t want to make silly little errors;
I want to make big important errors.
I want to make at least one error
which fills my supervisor with such horror
she blanches and almost faints
and then runs to the manager’s office.
The manager turns pale and stares out the window
then resolutely picks up the phone
to page the big boss at his golf game.
Then the big boss cones running into the office
and the manager closes his door
and hours go by.
The other women don’t talk,
or talk only in whispers,
pale as ghosts but relieved it isn’t them.
An emergency stockholders’ meeting has to be called
about which we hear only rumours.
I am offered a choice of either
fourteen years severance pay or early retirement,
to make sure I don’t accidentally
get a job with a subsidiary, allied company, or supplier.
A question is asked in Parliament
to which the Prime Minister replies by assuring the House
most typists only make silly typing errors
which only rarely affect the balance of trade.
The only time I get to talk about it
is when I am interviewed (anonymously) for an article
about the effect of typing errors on- the economy.

October, 1986

Copyright 2009, Helen Potrebenko. For permissions please visit

One Response to “Another Silly Typing Error”

  1. MondyCohen Says:

    Dear Helen I bought your book Life, Love and Unions in 1995 when I was traveling and living in Vancouver (I’m Australian). At the time I was a ‘supertemp’ in secretarial roles (my mother made me learn how to type after I finished my university degree and both got me around the world!). I recently made ‘another silly typing error’ and was reminded once again of how much I love your poem. I pulled your book out of the bookcase and have spent another hour so so enjoying it. So, thank you, thank you for your creativity and craft: it has given me much joy. I still aim to make big, important errors. Charnelle

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