I am haunted by the ghosts of typos past and future.

I started my career in the age of print, when typographical errors were forever. As a sub-editor, whose job it was to reorder articles by reporters to enhance readability, check the facts and weed out grammatical blunders, letting a mistake slip through was an eternal mark of shame.

Evidence of my incompetence would be enshrined in the next day’s paper for millions of readers to scoff at – in addition to guaranteeing a humiliating mention in the editor’s daily postmortem.

To guard against typos, print publications employed banks of proofreaders. But even that could not ensure perfection. When words appeared on the page with misplaced punctuation or missing letters, they were so obviously the design of a malign spirit, they would be explained away as being “printer’s devils”.

Computer technology and digital publishing have made life easier. Errors on websites can be changed as soon as they are detected. Even before articles are published, writing programs come with functions that highlight spelling mistakes – and sometimes correct them automatically.

This occasionally results in unexpected hilarity. They’re all around, not just on the sign above that I encountered at a hotel buffet recently. The sub-editor’s curse is to have typos jump out at me from everywhere – except the pieces I’m editing.