News & Articles
Browse all content by date.
Sometimes I feel like the officer of whom it was said soldiers followed him out of curiosity. (Please believe that I was aware the above “him” could be replaced by her, it, them, someone, they and so on but fell prey to old habits which would be understood by most and correct for the majority of cases, which don’t matter a whit to a what or a what’s-it never to be confused with a something-or-other.)
I was prompted to think, not long ago, it might be prudent to consider carefully before raising a “man overboard” alarm so as not to cause offense using an inconsiderate term.
But what to use?
Being overboard lacks the urgency required as it sounds too near to being overweight or being late. I considered and cast away person overboard because I’ve known persons named Person.
You see the problem as one of potential excess specificity going through the passenger register to determine if there was a Person onboard. It could take a while to go through all that and by the time a confirmation could be made it would be potentially too late.
Passenger overboard leaves out any member of the crew, doesn’t it? After consideration I concluded the safest (for me) if not the best (for they) was to quietly pretend ignorance, a polite way of playing dumb, a whole other category of likely offense.
“Did you hear something” has expanded meaning to include a person, being or entity identifying as something.
Did something say something becomes a grammatical possibility.
I particularly like to prospective meanings in “I heard something, but have to finish what I’m doing before I can look into it.” Let’s hope something did not observe someone going or having went overboard when time is of an essence (where thanks to grammatical flexibility essences are now available in the Pharmaceutical Essential Oils section where it doesn’t belong and doesn’t exist but will remain out of deference to undefinable protocol).
That dead horse (not deceased whores) now beaten for its lack of response, I move on to another beating in the dead being camp, Trump.
Do you, as I do, know people who find excuse to flog a dead Trump in the most magical and unexpected places. “This soup is cold.” – “Did you hear about Trump’s taxes?”
My answer would be “no” leaving out “nor do I want to” because the addition would do no good stopping the inevitable midnight express down the trackless demon line.
Not an accountant and not savvy to tax talk, I’d also bet that said Trump does not sit down to do taxes himself. I know people who do. I’m not one myself, but are you with me wagering Trump doesn’t sit he-him-their down on the 14th of O Four to labor the 1040 world with a #2 and a fresh rubber (somewhat out of date term for eraser, but useful if I want people to think I’m capable of more than I’m able).
I watch others spin into the maelstrom, and I swear on stacked prophetics the appeal of doing so escapes me. I don’t care. But, saying so to one of the whirling is akin to professing allegiance fascist racists who for a living make sausages of brown-toned children.
In a similar vein I am defensively “don’t care” about Biden. Don’t care if he makes a blunder and don’t care if he prefers a foreign Car Bean Island as a New Year retreat, though it could, if I let it, be a bit discomforting to see the boss wanting to be elsewhere, preferring there to here. (How soon will worry over place pronouns rise up to hunt us down?)
Well damn, a non-hosiery darn and phooey, I’ve just written a falsehood because I do care for Biden. A lot, actually, because he so reminds me of my father, who is dead, but that’s not the similarity of importance.
In appearance, mannerisms, speech and habits my deceased dad and the undead Pres could be doubles. Whenever I see the Pres on the TV I’m filled with waves of warm sympathy, none stronger or more heart-touching than when anger flares. Ah, what a joy!
My dad was seldom more true to self than when in the wrong and mad as hell to be called out. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but somehow among postwar adults there appears to be stern rejection of error. Their offspring and neighbors err all the time, but they, never! (Never being a long time can be amended to not in recent memory as sufficiently covering.) The tense rise of voice and facial contortion as defensive enmity rises are wonders to behold. The very best doing so are usually alcoholics with moods volatile as Molotov’s cocktails.
The calm demeanor (you’ve seen it I’m sure) erupts into denunciation of the ungrateful and unsympathetic and non-understanding and definitely unpatriotic and seditious doubter.
My goodness, but I miss dad’s bluster shows. Being (non-pronoun) a non-drinker, dad picked up the technique and mannerism from the rest of the family. who to a man and woman were artful imbibers of stunning ability.
As a child witnessing the Polack version my experience was widened to profound admiration when the Irish who married in added their special whine to the whirr.
Anyway, I do appreciate our Pres a lot. In any case, no affirmation needed from me, do he-her-himself-theirself, etc.?
As an instructor accused of both talking over student heads and also of over-informality I think I’m a reasonable voice when it comes to recognizing different forms of communication. Formal English is not the only kind, nor is informal or jargon or dialect the single answer.
I’ll use my old friend Mark Twain as an example of English in the form of distinctly American writing that is frequently criticized by modernists as objectionable.
Those who argue against Twain tend to show themselves as not up to the task of teaching the material as other than political polemic. How sad for them to miss Huck’s appreciation for life on a raft and read without feeling them the inner struggles of a human child not all that fundamentally different from us today.