So, after making numerous mystaeks at work today, eye decided to look into the history of Wite-Out. I was immediately disappointed, because it turns out that Wite-Out is a knock off of Liquid Paper. It’s like the Pepsi of publishing [rimshot]!
Liquid Paper was actually invented by Bette Nesmith Graham, who (as it happens) is the mother of one of the Monkees. I don’t remember which one, but does it really matter?
Anyway, it turns out Mrs. Graham was a typist with clumsy fingers. All the other correctives on the market blended with the black ink, so she started developing her own formula in the kitchen. Based on tempera paint, she bottled it in green containers (still the trademark color) and called it Mistake Out (later adapted as a signout by Ryan Seacrest).
Her frequent mistakes not only spurred her to invent the fluid—after being fired for a major clerical error, she was driven to market it for a living. The formula rejected by IBM, she sold it twenty years later to Gillette for millions.
So the next time you’re correcting a typo, or trying to get high in a Staples bathroom (not recommended), just remember you’re not the only one who’s made mistakes.