• Image about Shahin Takes Off 04-15-2007

Call it coincidence, call it fate, but I was just getting ready to send this column when I received an e-mail from my editor asking about the ETA, as he put it, of my column.

"Sherri is getting antsy," he wrote, "which makes me antsy."

Sherri is my editor's boss. She, too, is an editor. Actually, she is the editor.

It's not good when the editor is antsy. Not just her expression but her very face changes. Her mouth seems to get smaller, to the point that you wonder, as you accept the brunt of her scorn, if she might swallow her lips.

What she didn't know - how could she? - is that there was no reason for any lip swallowing. I had everything under control.

I mean, she's thinking, apparently, that I might miss my deadline.

I don't know why she would think that. Let me say, for the record: I have never, ever missed a deadline.

It's true.

But I understand, because I recognize that an editor is the opposite of a priest. Whereas a priest hears confessions, and thus a person's unburdened truths, an editor hears disavowals, or, to put it less politely, one lie after another.

The most common lie an editor hears is from writers about meeting their deadlines. That lie, actually, is not just one lie. It is a pack of lies.

The first in the pack is "I always meet my deadline."

The second is "I will meet this particular deadline."

The third: "I will meet the extension."

The fourth: "Oh, I thought you meant next May 3."

The fifth: "If you can wait just a couple of days, I think I may have an interview with the president."