March 01, 2008

We Care About Heath

Although Heath Ledger has been dead for more than a month, he appeared in my dream the other night. My brain must be backed up. I tend to dream of things that were mentioned in passing during the day. (For some reason, though, I cannot seem to dream of Christian Bale--try as I might.) I've heard it said that we deal with our darkest feelings in our dreams and "nightmares" are actually good for us. But more about Heath...

I first heard of Heath Ledger in 1999 when he starred in "Ten Things I Hate About You." The soundtrack to that movie rocks. I'm usually interested in Shakespeare-related things, so I checked it out and liked it. I then saw Heath in "The Patriot," all the while not thinking much of it. But "Heath" would come back to bite me a short time later.

I started working for a very well-known publishing company in 2002 as a Copyeditor. One day my boss called me into her office. "Look at this," she said sternly, while handing me a magazine.

I looked at the ad closely, reading the small type at the bottom. "You can get 12 issues for..." blah, blah, blah.

"Do you see anything wrong with it?" She interrupted, suddenly angry.

"Ummmm...." Unfortunately, nothing stuck out in the small paragraph I was quickly scanning. Perhaps the pricing was wrong?

"How about the misspelled word on the top?"

My eyes darted to the top. In large, bright letters was the word HEATH. The huge type should have read health. And considering that the magazine was solely focused on health, it was a big blunder. It ended up reading something like, "We care about Heath!"

I'm still not sure that my eyes were the last to see it before it went out, but I was blamed for the millions of people who would scoff at the misspelling...for everyone who would doubt the magazine's credibility...for everyone who wouldn't renew their subscriptions...

Through it all, though, I couldn't help but think of Heath Ledger. Did I see his name and subconsciously think the word was spelled correctly? Spell check wouldn't have caught the misspelling because heath is also a noun meaning a tract of open and uncultivated land; a wasteland overgrown with shrubs.

Ironically, that job would become a wasteland for me. Although I never really liked it, some tragic personal issues would soon completely interfere with my ability to keep interest in being productive at the job. I would be laid off more than a year later (because of cut-backs, not because of heath) and I was probably one of the only people to ever leave smiling and laughing with joy while carrying my little box of possessions...and some extra paper clips.


Rhea said...

Looking back on your misspelling of Heath at your old job is funny now...although probably not at the time. Thanks for sharing.

I see you like writing from your profile. I have a writing challenge on my blog right now. It's to write a six word memoir based on Hemingway's. Check it out!

Jason Hughes said...

Holy crap!! We were just talking about that at my parents house tonight!!! (Heath's Health [or the lack thereof], not health in general...)

Well, great minds and all...


Kel said...

Actually, Rhea, it was funny at the time, too. I'm not really the type to worry much about things I can't do much about and after the ad went out, I couldn't do anything...except think of Mr. Ledger.


Looking forward to our lunch, Jay. I think we're long-lost siblings or something! Fortunately, I got the house with Mtv as a kid. ;)

Ben O. said...

Apparently they don't care about mental heath.

Very interesting.

Kel said...

Ben, I think mental heath is overrated anyway.