So, let me tell you a little story.
Growing up, my friend Patrick and I spent a great deal of time together. We spent countless hours at the Record Exchange scouring through the bins of records, looking for that one eclectic album that no one else was listening to…yet. We went to the movies and to bookstores. We went for coffee and ice cream. We went to plays, concerts, and sporting events. We took tennis lessons together and I went to almost all of his high school hockey games. He was my confidante.
One afternoon, while driving to the local mall, we were discussing what we were looking to buy. We were both on our way to college soon, and we each were trying to get the necessary paraphernalia to fill our dorms.
Personally,” I said. “I need to get a good dictionary and a good thesaurus. I have really grown to rely on these books as my writing has improved.”
“Oh! Well make sure you don’t get Webster’s Revised Dictionary,” he said.
“Because the editor’s made an error. When transferring the words from the unabridged dictionary, they forgot a word,” he warned.
“Not one editor caught it, but they forgot the word gullible,” he told me.
“For real?” I asked.
“For real,” he said nodding his head.
“That’s crazy!” I was totally shocked. How could that happen at such a prestigious company?
Well, you know what happened? I made sure to purchase the Webster’s New Dictionary, not the revised one. To be honest, I was very suprised the bookstore still had it on the shelves with such an egregious error.
Four years later, we were old enough to sit in a bar and drink a beer together. We were reminiscing about life in general, when somehow, the discussion about the dictionary popped into my memory.
“You know,” I said. “I think they still sell that revised dictionary. They must have fixed the error.”
His forehead crinkled. “What error?” Obviously, he had forgotten our conversation.
“Webster’s must have reprinted the dictionaries and put gullible back in it.” As I spoke, he was sipping his beer. He literally spit the contents of his mouth out all over the bar.
“What’s so funny?” I asked. I could not understand why he was laughing.
“Cheryl. Think about it.” By this time, tears were streaming out of his eyes he was laughing so hard. “Gullible?”
I stared at him for a split second, and then the light bulb went off. For four years, I had innocently and naively trusted that what he had said to me that day was true. I never questioned it. I never opened the dictionary to investigate, and I never thought about the fact that the one word he said they forgot was gullible.
How stupid could I be?