I once went to a Friday night shabbat dinner at a friend’s house. There was a portion of praying/singing. After we ripped apart the challah bread and tucked into the wine, my friend turned to me in surprise and said “Where did you learn those prayers?” And I smiled a big shit-eating grin and said “I didn’t.” I’m a good faker. I have a good ear.
Faking is a copyediting necessity. My current project includes a bunch of place names in a country I’ve never visited. By the time I’m done with this manuscript, the authors are going to think I’m a goddamned native. I double-checked the spelling of the streets, the train lines the heroes took, and the name and history of all the sites they see. “AU: Please recheck directions, the F36 subway line stops at Dingleberry and does not continue on to Devil’s Crotch as in the book.”
It’s all about knowing the kind of things you have to check and finding the right sources. I amazed a client once by noting that one single letter in the middle of a 35-consonant chemical compound was italicized. I’m not a chemist, and have no idea what that italicized “n” even means, but I know where to look things up.
What’s the best thing you’ve been mistaken for?