After my wife's first month as an art director of a magazine, she signed off on her first cover. It was a major professional milestone, and a proud achievement - a gorgeous piece of work, as I can attest. She sent the image to the production team, who signed off on it as well, and passed it along to the printing plant. Only after the 100,000 copies of the magazine had left the printing press was the error recognized: my wife and the production had all forgotten to include a bar-scan code on the cover. Without it, vendors couldn't sell the magazine. The distributors refused to send it out. Virtually the entire print run had to be pulped.
What my wife and her team had suffered from was a failure of prospective memory - the inability to keep in mind every aspect of a goal that one sets for oneself. If you've ever walked out the door in the morning and realized you've left your work papers on the kitchen counter, you've suffered a failure of prospective memory. This type of mistake is all the more vexing for being so common and seemingly avoidable. I've never felt so flat-out dumb as I did the day I locked my car keys inside the car. I'll never forget that horrible feeling of shame, seeping over me like hot acid, as I realized that with a shove of the car door I'd done something that could not easily be undone.