I was reading a thread on Facebook sometime back, although with today’s 24/7 Internet/media onslaught of our senses, it could have been yesterday around 3:30 for that matter, about the deterioration of good grammar/spelling/syntax in the world today…the various commenters were bemoaning how bad it’s gotten on social media, as well as in newspapers, advertising, day-to-day communications between people in their homes, in the workplace, in schools, in houses of ill-repute and mortuaries; if the consensus of opinion in the post was accurate, there are currently no more than 568 people in America who use proper grammar, correct spelling and the appropriate sized socket wrench for removing sparkplugs (which by the way would be either a 5/8” or 13/16” with an extension, unless the car came with the optional kanoonten valve booster for the inlet framitz, then the correct size would be 89mm).
The underlying theme of the thread was one we’ve all heard often in the past: the general “dumbing down” of America. Although I can offer no statistical evidence or empirical research to support this claim, I agree with the folks on the FB thread…it sure seems like Americans, when it comes to their ability to express themselves, either verbally or in writing, can’t find their butts with both hands and a map.
The incidents of no punctuation, abysmal spelling (I had a friend who always spelled it “frend”…always), poor or no use of paragraphs, 24-second violations, an utter lack of understanding/using the rules of proper syntax, run-on sentences, no capital letters and having 12 men on the field are rife in our culture today…you can hear it from folks when they speak and read it in their writing.
I, on the other hand, having absorbed all my grammar and punctuation rules by being on the receiving end of a ruler wielded by various and sundry of the Sisters of Corporal Punishment at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion grade school, to this day, MANY years later, still in fear, make sure I capitalize, use good grammar and punctuate properly at all times.
And yes, I have an anus the size of a BB. (Several years after I graduated from OLPM, the good Sisters of CP were replaced by a new order, the Sisters of the Blessed Fundament.)
Given this instructional background of proper English usage, I rarely hear complaints from my readers, all several of you, about my language or my manner of expression; however, I do get letters, emails, texts, telegrams, smoke-signals and notes in bottles (hey, I live a mile and a half from the Gulf of Mexico, okay?), praising or taking me to task for something I’ve said here on the WATRUK blog. And since I had virtually nothing else to do this morning (I was going to re-jet a couple of four-barrel carburetors for a buddy, but he called to tell me he wouldn’t need them until next week, so I decided to wait), I thought I would share a few of the more pathetic, err, sorry, interesting comments I’ve received from my fans recently.
Batten down the hatches, maties, there’s rough seas ahead.
“I’m a God-fearing Christian women that who been a proud member of the Nashinel Rifle Asociashun for over 200 years now, and I voted for Messiah Donald Trump for Supreme Ruler of the Planet, and I sure don’t cotton to sum of the things you’ve been sayin bout the Messiah on that flog or whatever ya call it of yours lately. You said that Our Master was crazy (IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?_CONTINUED_VER 4.0), talking about how his pursonal doctor was one of them head-shrinker guys, like he was nuts or sumthin. It ain’t funny to be speakin bout His Holynis like that, it don’t show no respect. Yur gonna burn in hell, Cap’n Shitbrain, and all yur famly and the rest of you liberel media shits.”
Tess Tickles, Deadhorse AK (as in 47)
“Cap’n John, I wrote to you previously (THE USPS…ON THE JOB, LIKE IT OR NOT) to complain about your poor treatment of the great state of Idaho (home of the one and only Grown in Idaho© potato) on your Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding blog, apparently to no effect. Only a disgusting, gross, despicable, degenerate, ugly, rotten, disgusting, repulsive, gross, degenerate low-life weiner-head like you would continue to mash, err, sorry, trash the Potato State, as you did in your post of 1/21 (THINGS YOU NEEDED TO KNOW THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED TO KNOW), and I for one, as a loyal Idahoian, am getting damn sick and tired of being baked, excuse me, raked over the coals by repulsive, disgusting, degenerate, low-life cheeseballs like you. It’s an au graten, dammit, rotten thing to do and you’re a degenerate, gross, sickening, perverted slimewad and your mother dresses you funny.”
Jack Cheese, Santa ID
“As the President of the National Organization To Assist Lollipop Leaguers (NOTALL), I have been asked by our numerous members to address your seeming lack of regard for those of us who are considered to be “vertically challenged”. You have made several disrespectful comments about “midgets”, including a joke of seriously dubious taste in your post of 1/17 (IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?_CONTINUED_VER 4.0), and by so doing have shown utter contempt for the VC. My six brothers and I will be considering a campaign of boycotts and economic sanctions against you and the WATRUK blog should these demeaning remarks of yours continue. You are sick, disgusting, repulsive, gross, hideous, dirty and disgusting.
Dr. Forest (Doc) Fire, Pres, NOTALL
“Krissongs, John Cap’n: you’ve been pre-approved for up to $150 gazillion to be used to purchase a…”
Okay, never mind that one.
“My name is I. Dontknow Howe, of the law firm Dewey Cheatem and Howe, and this letter is to inform you that our clients, the Funk and Webster Dictionary and Pizza Parlor Co., Inc. absolutely refuse to pay the totally scandalous sum of one gazillion dollars ($1,000,0000,00,0000000,0,000,00000) for the usage rights to the word you allegedly claim to have “invented”, grandprogeny© (IS THIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?_CHAPTER THREE). Under no circumstances does F&W pay to use words in their publication, and I have been directed by my client to advise you to perform an unnatural act upon yourself with your demand. Have a nice day.”
I. Dontknow Howe, Atty At Law
“Any more I just can’t wait for Thursday to come around, knowing there’s going to be a new post on the WATRUK blog…I get so excited I just tingle. (Wait, I think I left my vibrator on…oops, yeah, there we go, that’s better.) I really liked how you talked about your “sardonic, mildly sarcastic voice” in your post of 1/3 (LEARNING MY LINES); I once had an acutely exasperated spleen, but never a sardonic, mildly sarcastic voice. That’s totally rad. And FYI, your writing makes me hot.”
Penny Stocks, Bald Knob VA
And on and on.
And since I don’t believe in segues, thinking them to be over-rated, I’ll just plow forward…one of the questions that I posed in my post of 1/10 (IS HIS THE PARTY TO WHOM I’M SPEAKING?_CHAPTER THREE) that remains unanswered is “Who is John Galt?”…so here we go. Galt was a philosopher, inventor, engineer and track laborer for a railroad who decided to “stop the motor of the world”; he owned a large library of books, including an atlas, and he shrugged frequently.
How was my grammar?
Love and prepositions,
Post Script…here’s a link to the excellent song by Simon and Garfunkel (no relation to Funk and Websters of which I am aware) A Simple Desultory Philippic…