Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dirty Mouth?

I realized something last night: I'm a bit of a potty-mouth.

It happened gradually...maybe I just started getting frustrated more often, or maybe I just enjoy being snarky, but over time my quiet mutterings have gotten louder and louder. Then last night I found myself walking down the hall hollering, "Damn it! I burned the oatmeal again!" And as I turned into the bathroom and saw the angelic face of my two-year-old son playing in the tub, I stopped in my tracks and thought, "I really need to stop cursing."

Everyone has heard the stories about kids saying the darndest things, usually in front of the church pastor or in the checkout line at the grocery store. I love to tell the tale of my friend's nephew who called out gleefully, "see ya later, f*** face!," instantly incriminating his father, who backed silently out of the room beneath the glares of his wife, mother, and sister. And I giggle when I remember hearing another friend's daughter mutter under her breath when a puzzle piece just wouldn't fit in its spot. And the day when a child at my son's birthday party called someone else a "dumbass" and his mother had to explain her battle with road rage to the instantly-silent crowd in my living room was truly hilarious. But when you realize those words might come out of your own child's mouth, and that you are the one who put them there, well, it's time to grab a metaphorical bar of soap.

I don't say the really bad stuff. I'm more a fan of the medium-level obscenities, the ones that have meandered their way into our daily conversations. You can say them on TV, you hear them on the radio, and well, everyone else is doing it. But regardless of relative shock-value and societal peer pressure, cursing is unladylike. And anyone who knows me knows that first and foremost, I am a lady. (Hint - that is your cue to ROFLYAO*.)

So I have started coming up with new exclamations of frustration:

Cheese and crackers!


Oh, go bake a pie!

But sometimes nothing quite gives you that oomph like a good old-fashioned f-bomb.

I'm not proud. I want to change. So as of today, I am the new and improved, less sailor-like me. And if you don't like it, well, you can...go stuff a turkey.

*Roll On Floor Laughing Your A** Off (for the un-hip**)
**And if you're friends with me, that probably includes you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Grammar Police Reporting for Duty

I have a little habit that drives my husband crazy. I learned it early in life and never realized it was so annoying until it was pointed out to me in the car one day on the way home from work.

I was leafing through a magazine and proclaimed, "I can't believe how many typos are in this magazine! I should mark it up and send it to the editor!" I turned to the inside cover and looked for her name. "She really should be ashamed of herself."


Then, "yeah, I'm sure she would appreciate that. People just looove it when you correct their grammar. It's so awesome." Only the word "love" was said really sarcastically so as to leave no doubt as to his real meaning.

I grew up in a house where grammar was a big deal. We weren't doing good, we were doing well. The invitation wasn't for her and I, it was for her and me. And don't get me started on the differences between "fewer" and "less". I appreciated these little English lessons because I didn't want to look or sound like an idiot, so I soaked it up and prepared for the day when I would unleash my knowledge of grammar on the world, which naturally would turn to me in appreciation and ask where I have been all its life.

So it is not surprising that I have turned into a full-fledged Grammar Warrior. My fingers itch to correct misspellings on signs. I have been known to erase an errant comma or rearrange words on the dry-erase boards at Lowe's. And anyone who has walked into my office in the past six months has seen my public announcement that adding an apostrophe "s" to a word makes it possessive, not plural. Never in the history of the world has an apostrophe "s" been plural and it never, never, never will be that way so please, for the love of God, stop.

I recently heard a news story about a group of teenagers who were arrested for vandalizing a historical sign. It turns out that they were on a mission to correct grammar mistakes on signs across America, a quest I could surely identify with. When I heard of an actual organization formed to eradicate the misuse of apostrophes, I clamored for membership information. And when a friend sent me this 2005 essay, I felt vindicated.

My constant need to point out mistakes doesn't end with printed publications, however. I suspect my husband watches movies and television shows with a clenched jaw because he is waiting for me to point jubilantly at the screen and shout, "EDITING MISTAKE!" and then grab the remote to rewind the scene and point out how, for example, in one frame, she has the boots on, and in the next one she doesn't. Then I sit back with a self-satisfied smirk as he rolls his eyes and says, "good eye, sweetie."

When did I become such a tattle-tale? And why do I feel so compelled to correct grammar? Is there a red-penned English teacher inside of me fighting to get out?

Maybe, but I think it really boils down to frustration with people looking stupid when they don't have to. There are so many tools to make us look smarter than we are, and I for one am not afraid to use them.

Do I make grammar mistakes? You betcha. And if I do, please tell me. Because if I am going to look stupid, I'd like it to be for something a lot more fun than grammar. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Just Don't Have That Much To Say

People keep asking me when I am going to update this blog, and to be honest, I just haven't had a lot of time to write creatively lately. The news isn't inspiring, I haven't noticed anything funny or peculiar that caught my attention long enough to formulate an opinion worth sharing, and no one in my sphere of awareness has done anything stupid for me to comment on. Nope, just living my life.

Wishing it wasn't hot anymore.

Trying to find time to update my iPod with Christmas music.

Scrolling iTunes for more Celtic music podcasts to subscribe to.

Going through my closet and finding long-lost dresses with the tags still on them and then trying them on, happy to find they still fit.

Folding endless loads of laundry (how can three people generate so much?)

Watching HGTV and wondering if we will ever finish the laundry room.

Trying to scrub clean where I spilled something on the seat in my car.

Going through my son's vast collection of priceless preschool art and deciding he is an undiscovered genuis.

You know...normal stuff.

So forgive me for not writing; I've just been distracted.

It's not you, it's me. :)