A day in the life of a grammar nerd (a conversation in text messages)

March 29, 2012 § 2 Comments

Mariah: Do you still those ear plugs some were?

Steve: Honey you’re missing a verb. Unless you’re asking if I keep earplugs in a liquor distillery.

(I know, I know, I missed a comma.)

A few more things on my mind…

Lakers played very well, and just plain got beat. I have seen the future, and he wears a backpack postgame.

Elsewhere in LA sports, the Dodgers were sold for $2,150,000,000. My first reaction, by email to the fantasy baseball league, follows:

(I’m) Cautiously optimistic. McCourt was supposed to be the family-owned cure to News Corp’s total disregard for baseball and corporate evils like trading Mike Piazza to the Marlins for Southern Florida TV rights. Now he walks away from the charred wreckage of company Romney couldn’t have gutted any better with $1 billion in his pocket, even after paying off his ex-wife and all his debts. I’m not going to pretend that Magic Johnson isn’t basically my #1 childhood hero and role model, but I also am not going to pretend that he’s anything but an LA-friendly face on a new group of people about whom all we know is that they have lots of money.
Encouraging that they paid in cash but the enormous sticker price is making me wonder when the next shoe is going to drop and what it’s going to be. Will the new ownership group throw money at aging players past their prime just to make a splash, or will they invest in player development and international signings? Will hot dogs (or, veggie dogs in my case) go up from $8.25 to $15.00? Will they upgrade Vin Scully with cybernetic parts so he can announce for another century, or will they drop him out of a passenger jet with no parachute and replace him with Tim McCarver? And, will we follow the Giants’ lead and name our stadium after the phone company du jour?

My guess is yes, maybe, yes, no, maybe, and (sadly) yes. So, at least we got rid of one asshole (at least, mostly. His stench is lingering around in the parking lots). But I doubt we’re out of the woods completely.

Next time: Mass Effect 2 and performative identity.


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§ 2 Responses to A day in the life of a grammar nerd (a conversation in text messages)

  • Bill Bellamy says:

    Of course, you missed it entirely because you are a simple sports writer. Mariah’s text seems to be poetry rather than a question; It exists in the realm of art. Notice how her subtle substitution of ‘were’ for ‘where’ completely transforms the poem. I bet she developed that over countless drafts and a protracted gestation period. Her art can finally be celebrated here rather than suffer the cruel stillbirth you gave it as a text. To your credit, writer, she published it in the wrong venue. To your shame, YOU were that venue.

    • flightsongs says:

      Wow, Mr. VJ, that’s some pretty harsh invective against me. And, I strongly object to the assumption in your comment that art should be blandly appreciated without asking further questions of it. Still, I’m enjoying your reading of her text message. Let’s parse this further.

      Opening up her careful use of “were” vs “where” strongly changes the meaning of that question mark. Rather than making the statement a question, it poses a state or object of uncertainty. This is underscored by the lack of punctuation in the rest of the piece — the reader is supposed to supply the punctuation themselves.

      To re-interpret, the poem could be read similar to the following statement:

      “Do you still those earplugs? Some were (in a state of profound uncertainty)”.

      To me, this poem invokes a frightening dystopic vision of a time and place in which agriculture has collapsed and bees have gone extinct, and the only readily available organic wax has to be mined from our own ears. It is common practice, especially for the poor, to wear earplugs all day, then place them in a distilling apparatus so the earwax can be collected off of them. The speaker in this poem addresses the reader with a dire question — do you still those ear plugs? Some of these ear plugs, it seems, are faulty in some way. We cannot know how or why.

      In these spare 8 words, we are given this bleak world, two struggling characters within it, and a life-or-death conflict over their continued livelihood. Of course, this is only my reading. I would hate to discourage other interpretations.

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