Who Invited the English Major?

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I attended a Pure Romance party a couple months ago. It is common at such gatherings for the sales representative to lead the partygoers in a game of some sort. An icebreaker, if you will. At this particular party, the Pure Romance lady issued an invitation to the attendees: "Use the first letter of your middle name and then come up with a list of adjectives to describe your sex life." There weren't a lot of people there, so my turn came up pretty quickly.

My middle name is Marie. The first adjective to jump into my brain was maudlin. No, no, that won't work. Mediocre? No. Musty? Crap!  Seeing that I was stymied, the hostess rattled off a list of M words that would make Dr. Ruth blush. "Moan, masturbate," and so on she went. I can't remember the rest but there were quite a few. An alarming number, really.

"But, but . . . " I responded. "Those aren't adjectives."  Everyone turned to look at me as if to say, "Who invited her?"

A few days ago, I had a follow-up appointment with my allergy and asthma doctor. I was in his office a couple of times in late September because I was at death's door with an asthma flare-up. I tell you, I don't know when I've been so sick. I coughed and coughed to the point of exhaustion. He wanted me to come back when I was well so that we could discuss an action plan for the future. When I arrived at my doctor's office, the receptionist handed me an asthma quiz. The quiz asked me to rate my symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. I was unable to get past the first question: "Are there activities you would of done if not for your asthma symptoms?"  (I can't remember the exact wording, but that should be pretty close.)  The error may as well have had a disco ball attached to it - I could not look away.

When Dr. W called me into the exam room, he asked me if I had taken the quiz. I decided I would share my horror with him. "There's an error in the first question, you know." I laughed and suggested to him that really, heads should roll for this sort of thing. He hopped up from his spinny stool and grabbed the clipboard that still had the asthma quiz attached.

"Where is it? Wait, let me see if I can find it." He scanned the laminated sheet and spotted the error immediately. He seemed rather excited about it. Maybe it gets boring, talking to people about their lungs all day.

"Now you can go home and tell your wife about the obnoxious patient who came in this morning," I said. He laughed.  Oddly enough, though, I think he actually got a kick out of the fact that I had the chutzpah to point out the error. Later in the visit, he wanted to run some breathing tests and I hesitated because my insurance is fully depleted for the year (thanks to A's ear tubes). Everything I do at this point is out-of-pocket. I told him it might be better if I wait until January. Dr. W said he would make an adjustment to my bill in exchange for my invaluable assistance with the flawed form.

Ha! And you thought my BA in English was worthless!

In general, I don't claim to have stellar grammar. My blog is full of errors, I'm sure. I tend to forget when to use 'who' and when to use 'that.' (As in, dogs who sleep or dogs that sleep?) I use commas rather haphazardly at times. I think I successfully avoid glaring mistakes like confusing 'loose' and 'lose.'  (Try visiting a Weight Watchers message board sometime - you'll loose your mind, I swear.)  The ol' your/you're choice continues to confuse Facebook users worldwide. I don't expect my friends and acquaintances to use perfect grammar in emails or in speech. I promise you I'm not like that. However, I do feel the need to stand up for the language from time to time. I love words and language and yes, I believe text speak marks the end of civilization. Yes, I know language changes and grows. Even grammar rules change (ending a sentence with a preposition has been downgraded from felony to misdemeanor status these days). However, it seems to me like some of the basics should remain. If a noun is not possessive, please don't add an apostrophe. I'm begging you! There is a billboard not far from my home that reads: "We Rent Harley's."  It's all I can do not to weep when I pass it. The world's going to hell in a hand basket and if this email I received from a client isn't proof of that, I don't know what is:

the secound one is wrong just deleat it Thanks (That was the entire message, I promise you.)

If you are also the type to weep when you spot misplaced apostrophes and such, and you know the difference between its and it's, here are a few websites you might enjoy:

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks
Apostrophe Abuse
A Way with Words


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