Monthly Archives: June 2015

Dot your Tees and Cross Your Eyes

My friends lovingly (I hope) refer to me as the Grammar Police or a Grammar Nazi. I don’t mind the nickname, although I think they’re selling me short. I’m also a spelling and punctuation snob. It’s not like I go around giving people citations. Casual conversation and social media posts are just for fun.

I take liberties with proper English myself. In my last blog post, I used “they” and “themselves” rather than the more appropriate “he/she” and “himself/herself” simply because it flows better. It sounded “righter.” But I know how to properly use soundalike words such as: They’re going over there to their class. When you get here, you’ll hear proper English. Your bad grammar implies that you’re dumb.

What gets my feathers ruffled is bad grammar in a professional setting; especially when written by someone who gets paid to write.  My coworkers and I will tease each other relentlessly if one of us sends out an email with an error in it. We’re nurses, not writers. But if it’s a school assignment, a job application, or for goodness sake, written by a professional, then a higher standard applies. You may have heard about an ambidextrous baseball pitcher and one newspaper’s egregious error in their article about him.

 How did this make it to print?

 

It’s sad that English language lovers are reduced to a joke while the rest of the world dumbs itself down. But, every now and then, there’s a misspelled word that doesn’t grate on this logophile. Recently I read the word “asswhole” and loved it. This should be a real word. “You’re not just a bit of an ass, you’re an asswhole!” Or maybe… “Don’t half-ass this assignment. I want you to ‘asswhole’ it!”

 

Distracted Drivers

Sometimes, things that aren’t funny make me laugh.

Among them are the public service announcements for distracted drivers who were texting and driving. If you haven’t seen them, they’re all pretty similar. A family member is holding a phone, showing a text message, saying this is the message their loved one was sending or reading just before… well, you know how it ends. Nothing funny about that, of course. The reason I laugh is that I wonder how in the world they know that. I think of how many apps would open if my phone went tossing willy-nilly about my car during a crash.  No one would know the last thing I was doing.

There have been many times while driving, that I’ve had to slam on the brakes. My purse and phone go flying into the floor. Once I’m able to retrieve them, I notice that my phone has opened three apps, taken a photo, made a phone call to China, and ordered a pizza. I suppose my PSA would be my husband holding a pizza box with Chinese writing and saying “this is the pizza she was ordering…”

Chinese pizza

Just a few days ago, I was situating things in my car and laid my phone in my lap. I forgot it was there and started driving. Later, I thought I heard music. I soon realized that it was coming from my phone. While sitting in my lap, my phone scrolled to the second page of apps, opened Pandora, selected a playlist and chose play. I’m surprised it didn’t say “Look Ma, no hands!”

Another laugh inducer is when someone rants about other people texting and driving while simultaneously exposing themselves as a distracted driver. They’ll talk about how many people they saw texting during their morning commute. Um… Aren’t you also endangering the roadways as you peer into every car you pass to see what they’re doing?!

Then there’s the Holier Than Thou types who have never done anything wrong while driving. I got into an online discussion with a stranger who stated that talking on cell phones while driving should be outlawed. I suggested that if people can’t have a phone conversation and keep their eyes on the road, then we should also outlaw carpooling and kids in the backseat. She retorted that she had NEVER taken her eyes off the road for even a second with her children in the car, no matter what was going on in the backseat. Well isn’t she special? I recall yelling into my rear view mirror more times than I can count at kids fighting over every petty thing you can imagine, up to and including “SHE’S looking out MY window.” And if Little Miss Perfect Driver never frantically searched for a dislodged pacifier to stop a screaming baby while driving, then she’s lucky. Or lying. Or doesn’t actually have kids.

Be careful out there. There are some crazy, distracted drivers on the road.  They could veer over into your lane, causing you to drop your breakfast sandwich and spill coffee all over yourself!

Fashion Crime and Punishment

What is it about saggy pants that bug people so much? Haven’t plumbers been wearing them since the beginning of plumbing? It’s one thing to dislike a fashion trend, but some cities have made laws against it. There are signs at store entrances refusing service to anyone wearing saggy pants. Ocala, Florida has passed a law making it illegal to wear pants more than two inches below the natural waistline because a councilwoman named Mary Sue Rich was “tired of looking at young men’s underwear.” I remember girls wearing shorts so short back in the 70s that you could see actual butt cheek, forget underwear. What I don’t remember was anybody making it against the law.

We’ve had plenty of bad fashion over the last few decades. Why wasn’t anyone fined for having a mullet or a soul patch?  Where were the laws against shoulder pads in the 80s? Was anyone ever refused service in a restaurant for wearing a track suit, Ugg boots or skinny jeans? And where’s the public outcry to rid the world of crocs?

Full disclosure: I do own a pair of crocs. I use them when I’m in the backyard picking up dog poop… which seems appropriate. However, you’ll never find a picture of me wearing shoulder pads because the first thing I did after I got home from clothes shopping in the eighties, was cut the shoulder pads out. You’ll also never find a picture of me with a mullet or big permed hair, but I did have “feather bangs.” I didn’t follow any of the trends in the eighties. I hid in the seventies and waited for it to be over.

While there are no laws about it, I do see a lot of chatter on social media about yoga pants. A woman named Veronica Partridge wrote a blog post saying that she stopped wearing yoga pants because they cause men to have “lustful thoughts.” Wow, arrogant much? She sure doesn’t give men much credit.

I don’t have an opinion about yoga pants, as long as these women don’t think they’re fooling anyone. No one thinks you just came from yoga class. We know that you’ve been wearing them all day and probably have a pair for each day of the week. I do, however, have an opinion about leggings being worn as pants. Leggings are nothing more than colored pantyhose, and should be worn the same way one would wear pantyhose. They are NOT pants.

Just be glad that the young men who wear saggy pants, also wear underwear. It could be a lot worse! Bad fashion trends will come and go. We really don’t need the law getting involved.  I’d like to see lawmakers focus on crime, education, the environment… anything but fashion. Leave that to the E! Network.

 

I Forgot What You Said

Like many of you, I recently attended a high school graduation. When the salutatorian and valedictorian got up to deliver their speeches, I knew that I had two choices. I could listen to these 18-year-olds with an open mind and hear the inspirational advice of a kid whose whole life is in front of her. Or I could listen through the jaded ears of a grown woman who has lived a life.

Yes, I did have this dialogue in my head as I made the decision to listen with an open mind. And I did listen. But I can’t remember much of what was said because I have “menopause brain.”  If I had attended this graduation three years ago, or any time before that, I would remember every word verbatim. However, menopause has robbed me of my short term memory. As a matter of fact, everything that has affected my uterus has also affected my memory.

The first time hormones messed with my uterus was during puberty. I don’t remember if  my memory was affected because puberty is a horrible time in everyone’s life and I have blocked it out. I refuse to search the annals of my mind to recall this period (no pun intended) of time.

Then came “pregnancy brain.” If you’re a woman who has ever been pregnant, or if you know one, you are most likely aware that baby brains are formed by sucking the mother’s brain out during gestation. The brain cells do regenerate, which prevents subsequent children from being idiots. But, in the mean time, the poor pregnant mother is a complete ditz.

Then I had a hysterectomy. In lay terms, I had a partial hysterectomy. However, no such thing actually exists because hysterectomy means removal of the uterus, and no one ever has that partially removed. Actually, the literal translation is removal of hysteria, but if I get into how angry that makes me, this blog post will never end.

After my hysterectomy, I had no short term memory at all. I could not remember how to do my job. At the time, I was a surgery nurse, aka circulator. One of my duties was to chart in the medical record the names of everyone working in the operating room, but I couldn’t remember my coworkers’ names. I couldn’t remember how to set up the OR. I couldn’t remember anything!

My friend Dorene and I decided that my brain was located in my uterus and it had been removed. Miraculously, much like the regenerated pregnancy brain, my memory returned to normal after about three months. With no uterus to house my new brain cells, I can only assume that they relocated to my ovaries, which are now shriveling up like raisins and taking my memory with them. I have been told that it will return after menopause. I have also been told that menopause lasts FOR-EV-ER.

Back to the graduation speeches… the one thing I do remember is the valedictorian advising her fellow students to do what makes them happy and no one can take that away from them. My thoughts were something like, “Yeah, unless you marry some jerk who makes it his mission to ruin every happy moment you ever have!” Oops! Looks like jaded lady has overtaken the open minded chick.

My best wishes to the Class of 2015. I hope that they do find happiness. And when they’re much older and attending some young person’s graduation, I hope they’ll be inspired by the speeches they hear. For all I know, I might have been inspired. I just don’t remember.

 

Who’s Your Hero?

 

The internet is all abuzz this week with words like hero, courage, and bravery. My Facebook newsfeed is cluttered with rebuttals: “this isn’t bravery, that is” or “that’s not a hero, this is.” These serve to prove my point before I even make it… we each have different needs for role models and different views of what a hero is. Can we agree that while a person may have no effect on me, I can respect your need to look up to them?
Constantly seeing these words the last few days has, as most things do, made me think. Do I have a role model? Who do I think is a hero? What does bravery mean to me? Why am I talking to myself?

I’ve never been one to hold up anyone as a personal hero, because they’re just people, and people will disappoint you. I felt sorry for those who looked up to Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong as their heroes because, as people are wont to do, they disappointed their fans. I admired Tiger Woods’ skill as a golfer, but there’s nothing brave about that. I daresay he showed more bravery going home to his wife after the news broke of his rampant infidelity than he ever showed on a golf course.

Don’t get me wrong. I do admire and look up to people. For instance, my husband, who is a firefighter. Every time he leaves for work, he knows (and I know) that he could die doing his job. He, and all other firefighters, run into burning buildings that even rats have the good sense to run out of.

My husband is also in the Air National Guard (another job that could kill him!). He volunteered to go to Afghanistan in 2005, then went again in 2010 on orders. Not only that, but he married me while I had two teenage daughters AND has survived my menopausal years. So yeah, I guess you could say that my husband is my hero.

Alex Trebek was once called a hero for chasing down a burglar who had broken into his hotel room. I’m not sure if the hero status had anything to do with the fact that Mr. Trebek had to put on his underwear before pursuing the burglar, but I don’t see anything heroic about chasing someone down to get your own stuff back. Again, we all have different ideas of bravery.

For some, bravery is saying or doing something despite the paralyzing fear of it and the overwhelming desire to do the opposite. You may have unknowingly been someone’s hero by standing up for yourself, exposing a secret or breaking tradition. There’s a song by Sara Bareilles called Brave. In it, she indicates that simply telling the truth is brave…

We’ve all been brave at one time or another. I am certain that we have each been a hero to our parents, our children, our friends, even to a stranger at least once. Weren’t we all brave the first time we jumped into a swimming pool? My sister was brave enough to jump in when she was 3 years old, but she couldn’t swim. My grandfather jumped in and saved her. He was definitely our hero that day. But sometimes, when we don’t feel brave, or courageous, or heroic, we want to look to someone else for inspiration. Let’s not belittle each other by tearing down the ones who inspire us.

And here’s another perspective on bravery. A blogger named Jessica Kane posted this picture…

After she posted it, she received A LOT of comments about how brave she was. What exactly were people saying? That she was brave to post a picture of her body that doesn’t meet with the beauty standards set by some arbitrary group? Here’s what she had to say about it:

 

There’s not much I can say after that, except this…