How Grammar Will Drive Me to an Early Grave

This is me with a statue of Jack London.

This is me with a statue of Jack London.

So my devil-may-care, martini-joking self hides a worrier. And of the assorted things I worry about, Alzheimer’s or some equally terrible disease sucking away my brain is one. I don’t know why I am preoccupied with this. It does not seem to me others are as concerned. My Great Grandmother had Alzheimer’s. I worked in a skilled nursing home for a while and saw amazing people suffer memory/mental acuity loss. And I trend towards a form of hypochondria that can easily imagine the flu is meningitis or the plague.

(In my defense there are a lot of terrible illnesses that start with “flu-like” symptoms.)

Even if it’s not one of those diseases, the worrying itself is bad for you and can cause early death. I don’t know that for sure, but it seems like something that would be true, doesn’t it? I know worrying is not good for you.

Or good.

Even Jesus talked about it; and he only had two years to cover a whole lot of material.

But where grammar factors in as an alarming symptom is because I KNOW grammar. I know about the Oxford Comma Controversy (I am pro comma). I’m not quite as good with a semi colon, but I am solid with the colon. Sometimes I have to read aloud to determine if it is “me” or “I” or double check if the correct verb is plural or singular. I don’t know that  I will ever get lay, laid, lying, but I’m not aiming for perfection. Competency would serve.

And yet I make mistakes all the time. And do not catch them.

For example, in this other blog post. Right at the beginning? See the word gem? I had that spelled as “gym”. I proofed that post SEVERAL times and never caught it. I published it that way.

Some of the mistakes I make are from cutting/pasting and missing a tense change or even just pure typos. Others are because I am not paying attention.  But STILL.

How do I miss these mistakes? Why does my brain not catch them as I proof? I often use the old journalism trick of proof-reading backwards (thank you, Mrs. Tatum). And I still miss simple, obvious mistakes.

All the time.

So, this has me worried that this is some sort of early onset of a disease that will rob me of other faculties. How long before I forget what this “&” is called (or that I needed to use quotation marks around it)? How much time do I have before I forget one of my favorite words of all time: onomatopoeia. Will it happen slowly or just be BAM! SNAP! POOF! and gone? Is it yet another bad symptom that I thought I was witty with that last one?

I talked to my doctor about this and she said even if it is early dementia there is nothing that can be done. Nothing. Seriously. That was her best. It was enough to fragment what I’ve got left.

Posted in Laughter, Writing | 4 Comments

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Breaking My Heart

So let’s imagine we’re all on a boat, sailing the ocean. I tend to tell my tales when the waters are calm and we can enjoy a glass of wine and relax against the cushion, letting the wind do the work and maybe just my foot on the tiller to keep us from going to far off course.

I used to sail with my Grandpa Smith and we didn’t swap tales when we were trying to keep from running aground as the barge went through taking all our water in the channel, giving us less than a foot of water between us as a boat and us as a tourist attraction. We didn’t swap tales as the wind carried us nearly aloft through Rio Vista, but the bridge tender didn’t hear our horn and raise the bridge so we had to come about and I didn’t have time to switch sides before we heeled severely and water poured in. My Grandpa hollered, “Are you okay?” And I hollered back, “Great. But my butt is getting wet!”

So, all of that is to tell you I am writing this while my butt is wet.

I have some guests visiting. Children. And the life these kids have had. The cards they were dealt, the way their cookies crumbled…

I do not even know what to say.

It makes me cussing mad. And under that, so hurt and heartbroken, I can actually feel the dagger making it hurt to breathe. And every second I am not fully occupied caring and adoring my guests and trying to make sure we have at least pathways through the overflowing of shoes and clothes and legos in the house, I am ready to break down sobbing.

And I swear, if I see one more meme about how we get what we deserve and our lives are all a matter of our own choices and the world owes us nothing…and other bullshit put up by people who have no f-ing clue how few of us get anything close to what we deserve and plenty of other people’s choices make others’ choices irrelevant. Or, worse, till there are no choices left. And call me a socialist, but I think the world does owe those who have been so deeply wronged by the world something.

The biggest problem with that kind of debt, there is nothing that could really make it better.

I did my best with beach days and movies and good food and hugs and kind words. But it’s like blowing on the gib when there is no wind. It doesn’t move the boat forward.

Posted in My Life, Prayers | Leave a comment

Signs of Sandals

I like signs. I like to believe things get put in our path by God to encourage, affirm, guide.

I don’t know why this is and it is not keeping with my usual  bent towards I-like-the-concrete-reject-all-things-made-of-fanciful-hooey.

A lot of my signs have come from movies. A therapist said this is because I am a people-watcher and movies give me a great opportunity since film captures behaviors and nuances so well. I don’t know, but I have gone to the movies and had them be about or highlight exactly what I was struggling with at the time. One time it was so intense, I asked the friends I was with if they saw it too. AND THEY DID.

So this is proof signs are real or I pick friends as weird as myself.

Let’s go with the former.

Earlier I said “my” signs. I do believe they need to be specific. I mean, it can’t be a stop sign at an intersection that just means Stop to everyone who comes upon it.

They also have to resonate. As another friend says, your inner ding has to go off.

So the internet is messing with my ding. The algorhythms for tailoring ads is throwing off my receptors.

For example, I read a blog post naming a brand of shoe. I had not heard of the brand and searched for it. And there I saw these sandals.

And I love them. Oh, I love them.

I want them in black. They may be a bit much for the grocery store/preschool run, but I would wear them. And I would love them.

And I now see them everywhere. But, sadly, it is not a sign. It is just good programming by the internet geniuses.

As if life is not complicated enough, I now have to figure out the difference between God and Google.



Posted in Laughter | 2 Comments