The impression a grandparent likes to give grandchildren is that of a Renaissance genius — that grandpa is the Michelangelo of the 21st century. When the grandchildren ask a question (especially when the grandchildren are very young), we want to be their encyclopedia. After all, how difficult is it to explain a light-year to a three-year-old? Haven’t yet tried? Well, are you in for a surprise!
But even explaining what are surely simple things, can turn a grandparent’s world upside-down. For example, what do you say when asked: “Poppy, what are the extra [shoelace] holes for in my sneakers?” Well, that’s a stumper? I have to admit that in all my years, I never once thought about those holes — I just ran my laces through them and walked on. It wasn’t a mystery that consumed hours of my time to solve, but it turns out I should have been more curious.
Here is the answer in case you get asked:
You’ll never be stymied by that question again and have expanded your knowledge base — exactly what a professional editor should do.
We now return to our regular editorial programming…
Richard Adin, An American Editor