I’ll just clear off the top of the desk and pound my head on it!

Once in a store I advised the check-out clerk that if she didn’t have nothing, she certainly had something as two negatives make a positive. She asked me if I was a teacher and I admitted I was not, but probably should have been, but I am not sure I could have survived the business of teaching. I expect it might have made me suicidal as I feel really frustrated every time I see a flagrant misuse of simple words.

Reading a blog today that I am a follower of, I just closed my eyes and shook my head as the writer spoke about her SOAR thumb (she meant sore).

Yesterday on a funeral card I read the word breath, which should have been breathe. I’ve seen that in another blog by a professional writer as well. Help me.

Once my niece asked me if I’d like to take a peak at some photos she sent and I said I would love to have a peak, but really have no place to put one, but that I would have a peek at her pictures.

One of my long-time friends who was an avid reader and a very bright lady spoke our native tongue as if she only knew the words from reading and hadn’t heard the words spoken. Once when I couldn’t help myself any longer I mentioned a correct pronunciation, to which she said who cares? And indeed, who cares. She has been deceased for about four years, so what does it all matter anyway?

It seems to me that American English among the masses has arrived at a level very similar to British English as it was written in the time of Chaucer – people who could write did so as words sounded to them and there was not much standardization of the language. For example, the word we know as mother, was written mudder and when I was in Galway, Ireland in 2011, I sat at a table in a fish and chips restaurant with a couple of charming young women who spoke of the mudder-in-law of one of them, as a lovely lady. Chaucer himself wrote of “…the kyng’s mudder’s house…” so who am I to get exasperated with the state of our language.

Still I cringe when listening to a well-educated adult respond to the question of how are you with “Om good!”

Television commercials are absolutely the worst offender. I sat in total disbelief as an attractive young lady blurted out about the automobile company that hired her, “Tell em Allison sen cha!” – not to be confused with someone who intentionally massacred the language as a small motel up toward the New York area some years ago with the name of their establishment being, We Wan Chu Inn.

Perhaps I am after all living in my idea of what hell would be and this is just my destiny – hopefully not for all eternity – but like the hippie on television who went to hell and opened a piece of chewing gum and dropped the wrapper on the floor, no sooner did the paper hit the carpet than an unattractive middle aged woman in a maid’s costume rush over and sweep up the offensive bit of paper and with a humph at the hippie walked away. He repeated the action two or three more times and each time the same thing happened. A quick look at the collection of old records indicated music the Hippie would never be interested in listening to. He was anxious to be out of there and see what hell was really like. A perfectly manicured man in a black suit appeared and when the hippie asked when he was going to meet the devil, the man said it was himself. The hippie wanted to see a guy in a red skin suit and horns carrying a pitch fork. When the hippie repeated the story of the gum wrapper and the maid the devil looked at him and said, “…oh, but for YOU, this IS hell!”

I do not hunt for these things, they just scream out at me. But I have learned that people do not really want to know that they have erred, so they can go forward without repeating those mistakes, so I usually shut my mouth and move along. Those people COULD read, but if they do read it is not anything too taxing, I’d guess. Really well-educated people just speak and write correctly, they do not attempt to get anyone else to do the same. I am constantly reminded of the art appreciation teacher I had at Foothill Jr. College in Los Altos Hills, California who regularly pointed out to us, “Tis better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it!”


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