Tuesday, March 16, 2010

at the dashboard and out of control

At the outset, I need to apologize for the jargon within my title today. I am aware that some non-blogging visitors who read this post may initially feel a bit left out. I cannot turn back though, as I fear my editor-in-chief status is in jeopardy and I must move swiftly.

My home office has been seized. I have been working feverishly to retain a scant hold on my keyboard and I may lose that control momentarily. Last week I participated in a higher than normal amount of grammatically ghastly e-mails and it has triggered a very powerful response. I really didn’t think much of it at first. Misspellings are quite commonplace throughout my archives. I would hasten to wage a bet guessing precisely how many times ‘the the’ would appear in a search, or how many plurals are misplaced.

But holy hell, disguised as the Holy Ghost, broke out when spirits of some of my passed on college professors led by my second grade teacher, Sister Mary Joseph, showed up at my desktop work station a few days ago. Evidently, like a patient no longer able to tolerate penicillin, Sister Mary, though buffered by another realm, couldn’t stomach any more excuses. The rampage began with print outs being tossed in my face. What is wenzday (Wednesday)? Do you forward an amending confirmation for an event scheduled in Febaury (February)? Or, did you just wimp out and auto date a reminder for 02/15/2010! We also reviewed a correspondence that you had with someone requesting a paiyne of you. Rest assured Christopher, we have a team working on that one as we speak.

In addition to pitching papers all across the room, Sister Mary is organizing the revival of a long defunct council made up of departed faculty members from around the globe. She calls it, ‘Spirited Followers of the Great Beyond’. This could be my last post if I’m not careful. I hear the whispering of words. I think they need a vessel and a medium of some sort. I can’t be sure.

Oh no-I think this is it! I knew I had cause to fear this celestial fly by. The council has now taken reign of my body. Here comes Sister Mary.

Christopher, the bygone followers have discovered that you enjoy spending some time blogging. We have seen your case of double word trouble and we would like to return the extra letters you left behind in comment boxes last month. The infrequency of your posted views also reminds us that you still have work to do on your tardiness issue. And we know about your long gap away from writing. Do you wish for me to replay the video depicting your grand idea to switch colleges? The entire reel has been converted and digitized. Maybe we can start our viewing on that fateful freshman day when you abandoned your English major in favor of psychology and child development. Be advised though, we have deleted all links to the marketing and business environment you have since called a career.

Nevertheless, we may be able to overlook a few mistakes and some rusty syntax. But unless you want us hovering over your head for the rest of your earthly life you must consider our list of appeals on behalf of the late scholars.

We can start at spelling. And perhaps we can end at ‘spell check’. But of course that would be dreamy, as the final edit involves reading. Careful reading can pick up the words that pass by the spell checker under pretense. We often find their and there or feel and fell going where they are uninvited. Words of incorrect tense also like to slip by the sender. Says and said along with asks and asked frequently win the slippery word award. But, whenever we see anyways in place of always, we know that you have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Go on the offensive occasionally and deploy tricks of your own. Big long words can be scary. Massachusetts is one of those words. Politicians running for office, within this blue state, have even been known to stub their toe here. Try tweaking out a simpler substitute, as in the ‘Bay State’.

Next on the check list is punctuation. An errant comma can alter your message entirely, as displayed by the next two sentences. There are some folks on the far right who think, for example, Sarah Palin is a ‘hottie’. There are some folks on the far right who think, for example Sarah Palin is a ‘hottie’. Please note the difference in meaning.

But mostly we recommend keeping it simple when it comes to punctuation. Sentences should end. And unless exempt by poetic license, they should end with a marker. I’m thinking periods, question marks and exclamations! I will clarify semi-colon usage upon our next visit; I believe it is a skill of a lost era.

Meanwhile, your capitalization seems to have taken on all the attributes of road kill. We find it all over the map. Christopher, you seem to be in conflict here. We notice that you have your name properly uppercased when inserted in bodies of work, but lowercased when commenting. Is this some e-mail corollary or just confusion on your part?

And as you know, parenthetical thoughts should be in parenthesis (or so I think). When quoting someone or some group, someone or some group should be identified. When identifying someone, their name should be spelled correctly. Remember, spell check will allow that party crasher to get by undetected as well.

Other than that Christopher, it’s all good and upon relinquishing command we sincerely hope you will keep us on your recommended reading list.

Yours forever in spirit,
Sr. Mary Joseph
President, S.F.G.B.

P.S. Christopher, on a less humorous note, spread the word that our board intends to ratchet up the negative karma against lifting material without permission. Thanks for lending us a hand, or two. We will be back to visit, but we must now beckon the call to scan the files of some journalists who allegedly think that the copy and paste method of reporting is something other than plagiarism. Blog on!

© 2010 Christopher’s Views


  1. I love it! I'm surprised they haven't tracked me down -- I taught in Catholic schools and they're on the lookout for me!!! Hope your week is going well, Christopher! Thanks for stopping by, always appreciated!


  2. Christopher, this is a fabulously funny post! You're a wonderful writer - very good at your craft - and I loved reading this! Bravo!

  3. This was hilarious, Chris, and so well written. Alas, a long lost English major! Did you ever have S. Joseph Immaculate at SJC? She wrote the following words in red, of course, on the outline of my senior thesis:
    "The dash is not a mark of punctuation; it is an admission of defeat."

  4. You are preaching to the converted...and the guilty. I get CRAZY when I see errors in my blog posts...and yet, nearly every time I go back a few days later and read one of my posts, I see a few. ARRRGGHHH. At this point in my life, I'm pretending it's because I usually have a kid sitting on my lap as I'm typing and posting--but what will be my excuse in a few years?

    GREAT post, Christopher.

  5. Hi Christopher..I came from Bobbie's blog and I would be thrilled to have you participate in Thinking Green Thursday...it was never large, but has fallen to a couple of people... anything to do with making the planet a better place...a greener way of life...articles, photos..anything....Michelle