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.