To some people, worrying about misspellings and typos is a foolish waste of time. They brush it off as some kind of annoyance or a miniscule matter that isn’t worthy of their attention — and they regard writers, editors, and others who do their best to spot and eliminate those mistakes as “anal retentive.”

My favorite analogy for typos is the sales rep who shows up in a perfectly tailored Armani suit with a dazzling silk tie and a smile to match. His sales pitch is perfect and his product is worthy of your business. But this poor fellow enjoyed a corned-beef sandwich at lunch, and he didn’t notice when a dab of mustard dribbled off the sandwich and onto his tie.

Long after his sales pitch is over, long after you forget his name and what he’s selling, you remember that glob of mustard. Not only was it an unexpected and incongruous accent to his attire; it made you wonder why he didn’t notice it. A glance in a mirror would have revealed it. And, at some level of your subconscious, you assume that he doesn’t pay attention to small details. That’s the impression he leaves. And when your missed typo leaps out, that’s the impression it leaves.