Coming up short in the distance

If the press police come looking, you don’t know where I am.

You see, I made a Canadian Press boo-boo. I didn’t question a unit of distance after receiving a report that used the imperial measurement system.

When the report was first released to us of the tragic story of the skiers who were caught in an avalanche, the release said in the first line that the event occurred 30 miles from us here in Smithers.

As was carefully pointed out to us in our website’s online commenting (from a familiar face in The Interior News’ family), we live in Canada, and we use metric.

I do counter, however, the notion that it was a proofreading error. It was actually an editing error.

So who is this ‘editor’ guy, anyway? Oh right, that’s me.

Nothing reminds me so much that I’m green as when things like this just pass my notice.

I’m guilty in my day-to-day life of similar un-Canadian infractions. For instance, I’m 5’-10” tall, not 177.8 centimetres.

I am, well, no one needs to know how many pounds I am. But that’s how I weigh myself, not in kilograms.

Considering my guilty plea on the matter, I turned to my Canadian Press (CP) Stylebook for guidance. (The thirteenth edition is the closest one I have handy, but I’m sure the new edition says close to the same things.)

So, what does page 243 tell me? CP uses metric for most measurements, including speed and distance.

However, in case anyone is wondering, it’s not the CP way to mess with phrases, like “The crowd inched forward,” as the guideline further notes.

All this glosses over other of my shortcomings, such as my inability to personally make the conversion in my head. That’s where Internet search engines guide me to the information I need. Or, alternatively, page 246 of my CP book — but that only gives me the equations, not the answers.

I’m really part of this Now-generation, aren’t I?

So yeah, mea culpa. My fault. I got caught with my foot in my mouth. Oh wait, what’s that in centimetres?

Cameron Orr is the editor of The Interior News.