My husband made the mistake of walking into my office the other day when I was trying to figure out a delicate author query. So along with my usual request for a cup of tea (he makes the best tea in the entire world), he also got asked a very strange and personal question about a sex thing (no, I’m not telling you what it was). It is a measure of how very weird my job is sometimes that he did not even bat an eyelid, just answered the question and went off to make the tea. But it reminded me, as if I needed reminding, that there is so much more to editing than fiddling about with commas.
Here are some of the other things I have done in the name of research:
Watched a video of someone trying to shoot down a tree with a shotgun. (Takes quite a long time, apparently.)
Googled cruise ship itineraries and put up with the resulting Facebook ads for cruises for several months afterwards. (Made me jealous.)
Made use of my dad’s degree in Swedish by asking him to check a translation (thereby proving it is not quite the most useless degree for a retired computer network engineer to have).
Started a large discussion in a Facebook group about whether there are regional differences in the placement of the word “fucking”. (Not really, it seems.)
Put on a very thin t-shirt and made my husband cuddle me to see if I could discern the texture of his shirt through it (nope).
Asked my husband to pretend to punch me in the face while holding one of my arms behind my back. (This man is an angel for putting up with me.)
Drawn on all my (not that extensive) knowledge of classical music programming to explain why the concert an author had written needed to be changed (mainly because it would be about five hours long).
Looked through the entire episode list of California Dreams to see if there was ever a comedy Swiss character. (There wasn’t.)
Attempted many, many odd actions, facial expressions, and combinations of the two. (It feels surprisingly weird to roll your eyes and shrug at the same time.)
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of editorial research?