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Posts Tagged ‘Punctuation’

Dear Parental Patience:

Where are you? Now in my hour of need? Please come back.

I thought I had turned a corner with Dominic.

Funny, right?

And he finally got his Publix uniform to start working.

Today was the big day.

But.

He realized that he had to be at work in 10 minutes but didn’t want to walk in the cold.

He’s so delicate, you know.

So he wanted me to drive him.

After sighing loudly, I put a coat on over my pajamas, and took him over.

Then he texts me. And this is when you, Patience, apparently jumped on another call.

And if the subject matter isn’t bad enough, the child refuses to use proper grammar and punctuation.

Please come back.

I miss you.

Love,
Beth

* Thanks, GnR.

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Dear Highway Convenience Stores:

You are the great equalizer. You bring all travelers together, and do not discriminate.

Everyone will need to get gas.

Everyone will need to pee.

Everyone will need a snack.

Perhaps this:

I am addicted to Slim Jims, preferably the Tabasco-flavored ones. At Al’s Market in Forsyth, only a few original flavored remained.

Of course I picked up the empty boxes of the other flavors, and asked the cashier.

Me: Any more of these anywhere?
Her: They all got gone yesterday when everyone was traveling.

Ah yes. Everyone traveling over the holidays, including me. I drove back and forth to Savannah twice.

So I saw plenty in your environs.

Some things to brand me as the redneck I can be:

Some things to confuse me:

Who flushes part of the way and why?

Many things, actually.

I really am not that close with someone to make full use of this bathroom.

And some that annoy:

Should I also notify the cashier about missing punctuation?

Thank you for your existence, and for your capacity to amuse me.

Happy New Year!
Beth

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Dear Dominic,

Today you are 15. You were supposed to be born Dec. 13, but you couldn’t wait to get out into the world.

I knew you were coming early, especially as right around Thanksgiving would be a supremely bad time for you to come. Your father and Terri, my backup push coach, would both be out of town. (Remember, your dad was coaching basketball at the time.)

The doctor examined me at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, and said you weren’t coming.

But I knew better: Any child of mine would do things his own way.

So when I was doubled over in Target the day after Thanksgiving, I knew.

When my pain got unbearable, I called in BABY COMING to the TV station, and checked myself into the hospital.

The attending doctor told me to suck it up. That you weren’t coming. And to go home.

I basically told that asshat to shove it. I refused to leave. I told him to call my doctor, put a fetal monitor on me, do an exam — whatever he needed to do to be convinced.

(Thinking, “Just come closer so I can show you what pain is like.”)

Saturday morning, my doctor arrived, and checked me out.

Oh! You’re about to have this baby!

Yeah. No shit.

I called your father back from wherever he was. (Randy, thank you for driving him back.)

I called in your aunt to be backup for Terri.

After a failed epidural and, thus, incredible pain and gnashing of teeth, you arrived.

There has been a different kind of pain and gnashing of teeth as you navigate puberty.

But you’ve been mostly great lately.

When I was out of town last weekend, I couldn’t believe it was YOU texting me this:

Though the lack of punctuation and capitalization drives me batshit crazy, I do appreciate the sentiment.

And I loved laughing with you last night at Donkey’s mange line in “Shrek Forever After.”

Have we come out the other side?

That would be great.

And thanks for making me giggle this morning when you came out with the stick you call your “thotslayer” to keep me from spanking you for your birthday.

Happy birthday to my smart smartass. I do love you.
Mama

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Dear Friends:

It’s the rare time of year in the South where I can put down the top on my convertible and be comfortable.

One of my favorite things to do is play music REALLY LOUD and (possibly) torture those around me.

I’ve been in a serious metal and rock phase lately: Think Halestorm, Drowning Pool, Rage Against the Machine, Disturbed, Metallica, etc.

But I do have eclectic taste. See this recent screenshot from my Ticketmaster app:

I’m looking for suggestions. What’s your favorite song? Though I will listen to almost anything, note that I’m not a huge fan of rap, trap, jazz and classical music.

And please don’t send me video game theme songs. The 14 year old has the lock on that. And he is persistent. (Read: annoying when he wants me to do something.)

(Yes, this is what I have to live with every day.)

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Sincerely,
Beth

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Dear Friends,

Back in my day (someone get me my walker), we cruised around Stone Mountain Park after school.

Now the Dunkin’ Donuts is the hangout.

According to Dominic, the crowd is hit or miss.

Last Friday featured quite a crowd, though. When I went to get him and Gideon, I decided I needed an iced coffee.

Inside, I practically needed a machete to hack through the hormones in the air.

As soon as I got back in the car, I got hit with this:

Dominic: At least the thots we liked last year were cute. These are obnoxious and covered in acne. These seventh and eighth graders are awful. Gideon is more mature than any of them.

Gideon, an eighth grader: I really am. It’s true.

Dominic: He can take a hit too.

Me: Wait. What?

Apparently they went to a nearby park before DD to play football.

And that’s why they didn’t want me to pick them up too soon. And ignored my texts.

Dominic: I saw your question mark. Mama, we was out with the boys.

(Gideon informed me it’s supposed to be written this way: “We was out wit da bois.” Shudder.)

During said football game, Dominic had a run-in with a tree.

He saw it as an occasion to go into full drama mode.

I do have to tell you all that he’s been mostly great since he started ninth grade. More from Friday:

Dominic: There are three girls who said they caught feelings for me.

Me: Do you like any of them?

Dominic: Naw. I gotta get me those As.

(Not with that grammar you don’t. But I digress.)

It’s true that the notifications I’ve been getting from Campus Parent have not made my blood pressure spike.

And I made him laugh this week too. We were trying to edge into traffic, and I wanted to slide in front of a particular car.

Me: I’m going to slip in here because Drake isn’t paying attention.

Dominic: [Looks up from his phone to see my reference.]

Me: [Pulling in front and waving] Thanks, KeKe!

Dominic: [Looks at me in shock and actually chuckles.]

Me: You’re impressed I knew that aren’t you?

Dominic: Yes, because you listen to this [referencing The Pixies coming out of the speaker]!

Me: Listen: They were a seminal act of the late ’80s.

Dominic: [Exaggerated eye roll]

So, friends, I’m hoping we’ve turned a corner. (Don’t tell me it won’t last. Let me have my delusions.)

Cautiously optimistic,
Beth

 

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Dear Sons of Mine:

It’s been very weird for me for you to have phones and, with them, social media accounts. You know I gave you phones only because you had good grades and are fairly responsible (and because you not having phones was starting to be a pain for me).

The weirdest conversation so far was this one with you, Gideon, not too long ago:

You: Today is Glenn’s birthday.
Me: Glenn who?
You: Glenn, your boss.
Me: Wait … what? How do you know?
You: We are friends on Facebook.
Me: !!!

But strange conversations are now de rigueur. Behold (this convo comes after your father talked about your baseball team going from “last to first”):

And here is this soon-to-be classic from you, Dominic (you never text me unless you want something):

My head nearly exploded. Please, please pay attention in language arts class and USE PUNCTUATION (or you’ll never again get what you want from me, a grammarian who is a stickler for proper punctuation).

You both make me crazy. And also, I love you.
Mama

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Dear readers (and, I hope, fellow lovers of language):

I need a break from the 2016 election.

Let’s talk about the serial comma (also called the Oxford comma) for a moment. We’ve all seen the following to advocate for its use:
why-use-the-serial-comma

But here’s the thing: I would use a colon to clarify if I really meant that JFK and Stalin had side jobs. My sentence would read:

We invited the strippers: JFK and Stalin.

If I meant that JFK, Stalin and some ladies working their way through college were all coming to the party, I would write:

We invited JFK, Stalin and the strippers.

I’m a fan of improving clarity by rewriting. No need to overwork the comma and use it for a simple series.

However, we cannot give the comma a gold watch and say goodbye. We still need it. And some people certainly appreciate it. (Read this from the bottom up.)

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

Email courtesy of 36-hour Tina

 

We also need articles or bad things happen.

 

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

Image courtesy of Shane Marshall Brown

A “the” before “pen” would have made all the difference. (Or even a bigger space before “is.”)

What we don’t need is random quotation marks — not even one random quotation mark, as seen in the photo below. (By the way, quotation marks come in pairs. That’s how they work. But if the signmaker had added another, we’d be wondering what the dogs are actually doing.)

14462752_10209053160318830_7442341530367414711_n

Image courtesy of Angela DeVore

Please send me your sign/email/meme fails in the comments or via Twitter (@BethCon5). I think we all will be needing more election breaks over the next 45 days.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Apostrophe:

You really need a vacation. You clearly are overworked. I’ve lost track of all the times you’ve had to show up unnecessarily on a sign.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

"Sunday's"

I guess the sign’s writer thought the S would be lonely without you. You and I both know that the letter can get by on its own. No need to call you in.

I wish you could assert yourself. Just say “no” to incorrect possessives. I wish I could do something to help beyond calling attention to your situation with this blog.

Take some of your friends — the quotation marks for example — and run away for a while to rest up. They need a vacation too:

There's more wrong here than just quotation mark overuse. (Photo courtesy of Karla Knudsen)

There’s more wrong here than just quotation mark overuse. (Photo courtesy of Karla Knudsen)

I hear the Maici River in Brazil is lovely this time of year. You’d get a welcome respite among the Pirahã.

Just know I’ll only request you in an emergency. You know, one of the following situations: showing possession (“Is that Gideon’s dirty sock?”),  making contractions (“No, it’s Dominic’s dirty sock.”), and indicating when a letter is deliberately left out (“Did Eddie just call me a dirty ol’ ‘ho’?”). And you never have to worry that I’ll mistake you for your doppelgänger, the single quotation mark.

Wishing you a happy vacation,
Beth

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The ubiquitous Facebook Eeyore

Dear Facebook Friends:

I think I need to explain why I use Facebook. I use it to:

  • Stay connected with people I don’t see every day.
  • Find out interesting information (news, trivia, links, etc.).
  • Enjoy astute and/or funny comments on links, status updates, photos, etc.
  • Share photos.
  • Make plans.
  • Promote new posts on this blog.

I do not use it to:

  • Boost my self-esteem by sending friend requests to everyone who breathes in my direction.
  • Boost other people’s self-esteem by blowing sunshine up their asses constantly. (Some people seem to need this. Sorry. I can’t do it.)

I barely know some of you on my friends list, but that’s OK. There must be something about your posts I like. If not, I hide your posts in my news feed.

What kinds of things make me want to hide you?

  • Passive-aggressive status updates.
  • Posts about what new material items you have acquired, will acquire or want to acquire.
  • Song lyrics, Bible verses and cryptic poetry.
  • Minutiae of your life.
  • Constant complaining.
  • Relentless self-promotion.
  • Trash-talking.
  • Numerous photos of yourself taken with your phone.
  • Posting opinions and then getting mad if someone disagrees with you.
  • Game and app invitations and posts.

Once in a while is fine for all these things. (Heck, I’m even guilty of a couple of those.) If it is every day, then Houston, we have a problem.

I’m not the only one who feels this way. Take a look at this comic from The Oatmeal.

I rarely defriend people, though, because I worry about backlash. I am thrilled (THRILLED!), though, when one of these repeat offenders defriends me.

This happened recently. Perhaps the person hoped to punish me by denying me access to constant attention-seeking status reports, on which I refused to comment. We don’t share the same goals, sense of humor, world views, values, or even the same appreciation for punctuation. So neither of us was getting anything out of this virtual relationship.

Of course I wish this person all the best in life. I really do. I’m just happy not to be part of it on Facebook, or feel guilty for not having anything to say about it.

Now, as for the rest of you, I look forward to your funny observations, shrewd comments, links to Daily Show clips, and details of strange experiences like watching someone take photos of your house.

Update away, good friends!
Beth

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Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be.

— John Mellencamp

Dear Citizens of Ringgold, Georgia:

I am totally impressed with you. Small towns often get a bad rap — targeted as intolerant communities. And maybe some (many) are.

But you are showing via AMC’s new show, “Small Town Security,” that you are accepting of different kinds of people, including transgendered “lieutenant” Dennis Croft.

I admit I didn’t really see that coming in the first episode. I thought Croft might be gay, but the truth was more surprising and interesting. What’s more, Croft is in love with his married boss, Joan Koplan, otherwise known as “The Chief.” She owns JJK Security with her husband Irwin, who seems to be accepting of this situation and enjoys the meals Croft cooks for them on a regular basis. Fascinating. Truth really is stranger than fiction.

Croft (second from left), Koplan (center) and the cast of “Small Town Security”

And you, citizens of Ringgold, don’t appear to be fazed at all. At least, not according to Croft. Good for you!

You certainly aren’t like these punctuation- and spelling-challenged people:

(My favorite is “high fullutent.” Yes, I think they meant “highfaluting.” And I think I’m about 12 things on that list.)

Anyway, thanks for showing that “small town” doesn’t always mean “small-minded.”

Slack-jawed in awe,
Beth

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