The Perils of Pauline…

Ahh the perils of being a freelance proof-reader and editor, I work from home, so I do not see clients face to face and a lot of my clients live in other states. So most of my contact consists of emails and phone calls or if there needs to be some one on one real time clarification I have a MSN account which is strictly business only, I only ever give that out to paying clients.

Last week I got an email from a reasonably well known local businessman I’ve never worked with him before, he needed a brochure/flyer proofread for basic grammar and spelling mistakes. This isn’t a problem, I do it all the time, it’s my bread and butter trade.

I was somewhat surprised that the place that he was getting the printing done at wasn’t offering the same service as part as the deal, but then I realised that he was probably getting the printing done at the ultra ultra ultra cheap printing place whose policy is ‘we print it as it comes’. So fixing errors beforehand is very good idea.

When his .doc arrived in my email box I had a look at it and I quickly realised that not only did it need basic grammar and spelling fixed, it needed a whole substantive edit done to it. So I contacted him and as politely as I could, managed to convey to him that basically his whole copy sucked, and sucked badly. But that for an extra $$ I could fix that for him as well.

He agreed and deposited the remaining amount into my account, and when that had cleared, away I went. Most of it was pretty much standard I knew what he was trying to sell, what he basically wanted to say and managed to get his mangled words into something comprehensible.

However there was one bit that I needed some definitive clarification on so I asked him to contact me either by phone so I could speak and edit at the same time, or on MSN so that I could type and edit at the same time.

He said MSN was fine, so I gave him my business MSN account and waited for him. I waited for around 15 minutes and was just about to give up when up popped on my BUSINESS account the screen name


Oh yes; it was MY client, I blinked and decided that best course of action would be to totally ignore it and just get on with deciphering exactly what it was that he wanted in this part of the brochure. I was switching from screen to screen, doing some editing then getting some more clarification, and each time I switched back to the MSN window his screen name would be changed to something else just as disturbing. At the same time he’d change the little ID picture, I saw an ever changing parade of penises (penii?), usually erect and all a little on the OMG scary size.

These are the screen names he used:




And my very personal favourite;


In a word NO, it was a childish immature display and I can only hope that while he was talking to me on MSN that he was also talking to some one else, or else it just tips over in to the highly disturbing.

I finished up and said that I had all the information I needed and that I would send the finished job back to him via email in around two days he said that was fine and said “It’s been a pleasure doing business with you”. I’m in two minds about THAT one, I just replied as pleasantly as possible and as he signed off his last comment was “btw, that was my c&*k in those pictures”.

My dear client, you are a skinny mid 40ish Caucasian business man, I’ve seen your picture in the local rag a few times. None of those pictures you used was of your penis, unless your penis has a terrible terrible disease it is NOT black, nor does it look like it needs a support stand all of its own.

Next time, no matter how badly I need the money, someone else can have him.

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