the best english teacher i have ever had retired this friday. gtwnbeth and i sent her roses. i attribute my ability to write a coherent and grammar-perfect sentence to this woman, and i’m probably studying literature right now because of her. not to mention the fact that her classes provided me and aforementioned beth with many many ridiculous yet somehow long-lasting jokes. no one can wear a very large sweater featuring a very small sheep like this woman.

and to this day, i am often possessed with her spirit when duking it out with my current editor regarding comma usage. this woman loves her commas. they are numerous, and they are scattered with abandon. they appear before dependent clauses. they appear inappropriately in quote situations. they even appear in the middle of a sentence for no apparent reason. this woman places commas where no commas should ever be. she is a comma junkie.

i confront her about these commas. i tell her why they do not belong. i have come close to diagraming a few sentences. she is, after all, an economist. figures and charts are more familiar territory. her consistent response is that she understands that the punctuation may be wrong, but she “likes it that way.” the comma infestation has become such a contested issue in our office that our editor is considering having a meeting solely to discuss commas, during which we each will bring our documented evidence to prove our own punctuation preferences. the fact that the editor is approaching this topic as something up for debate — a topic that can be approached in a diplomatic or majority-rules kind of way — irks me. i understand that certain rhetorical situations will call for some discussion and group consensus, but commas are not as subjective as she would like to believe. if we establish some sort of house rule regarding comma usage that contradicts my deeply felt comma loyalties, i may have to stage a rebellion. a comma coup.

i realize this makes me a huge nerd, but i know that there are those out there who understand. ::looks pointedly at bee::

in other news, when danny was down in houston for the long memorial day weekend, he bought me golf clubs! i am going to play golf. i am going to be a golfer of sorts.

or maybe it would be more accurate to say that i am going to dress in a polo shirt and a visor, carry around a large bag containing golf clubs, swing these clubs, occasionally connect with a ball, and lose many balls in woods and other sundry golf course obstacles. we’re going to the driving range this weekend. i want to learn enough to be able to play a game with him and have some fun without wanting to stab myself in the eyes oedipus-style. perhaps after a few trips to the driving range i will graduate to an actual game, where i will be rewarded with the privilege of driving a golf cart. thanks to the Communities in Schools of Wake County golf tournament, i have experience.

at this tournament i also witnessed the perils of hot-dogging in a golf cart when one of our big-money tournament donors attempted to speed down a very steep hill.

it’s all fun and games until someone ends up under a golf cart.

p.s. if anyone who reads this journal knows anything about nascar schedules (which is kind of unlikely), i need some assistance. according to my priest, himself a nascar fan, the new schedules were supposed to come out at the end of may. i need to know when the coca cola 600 will be in 2006. unfortunately, this fact will determine my wedding date. damn lowe’s motor speedway and its proximity to my church!


12 thoughts on “

  1. Comma use aside, how can a professed English-nerd like yourself get so worked up over punctuation and still refuse to capitalize the beginning of sentences, or the word “I?”

    e.e. cummings thinks you’re a poser.

    • i hold my LJ entries to a different standard than the journal. the journal is read by many many academic-type people and, alas, my LJ is known only to a select few.

      besides, i’m too damn lazy to hit the shift key.

  2. I *totally* understand the comma thing. My boss is the *exact* same way as your editor (which, I should say, is a bizarre profession for her to have since she obviously doesn’t have a clue!).

    I am looking for the schedule. I think I know where to find it. In other news, look where the speedway is on this map. If it was really there, I dont think you’d be having any problems! Unfortunately I cant find anything except one site said “Memorial Day weekend” but they were selling hotel/tickets packages so I dont know how reliable that is. My friend Nikki works directly with Nextel. I’ll have her ask.

    • well, to her credit, she is not only an editor (and in fact was not an editor first). she’s also a professor. but that really doesn’t help her case.

      and thanks for checking out the race thing, if you can. i think the race is the weekend of october 14th (one of the hotels i looked at was already booked up for that weekend, and the catering manager claimed it was due to the race). but i would like some sort of official information before i start making reservations at the church and reception site.

      • Yeah that’s really not helping her case at all!

        The Coca-Cola 600 is in May. If youre looking for October it’s the UAW-GM Quality 500 which isnt as big of a deal. (and I swear I don’t know/care about racing. It’s all on the sports part of the CNN site!)

  3. The game of golf can be rather tricky to the uninitatied.

    Allison accompanied me to the driving range last time, and managed to roll a few golf balls off the tee-box-area. Perhaps a couple went airborne for a few feet, but it was a rocky start for a golfing-hopeful.

    Regarding the game in general, I consider it to be great stress relief. It’s all about the noise really. !ping – doesn’t really matter if the ball goes that straight – it’ll get there eventually.

    • i have been to the driving range once already. danny and i went to the range at eagle ridge, in garner near raleigh. i was not very good. i think the ball only left the ground once or twice. but i am not letting this get in my way.

  4. Commas, golf, NASCAR

    On the comma bit, there was an editorial by Stanley Fish in the NY Times Tuesday regarding composition pedagogy and grammar/punctuation. Read it here:

    On the golf bit, beat Dan in the first two years and earn life-long bragging rights. I’ve already warned him of the dire consequences if you achieve this.

    And on the NASCAR bit, I think the fall race is typically the second weekend in October. (I only know this because I went to college mere miles from the speedway.) But it’s always safest to make certain. Last thing you want is some drunk Dale Jr. fan hanging around the punch bowl and hitting on great aunts.


    • Re: Commas, golf, NASCAR

      Unfortunately, NASCAR is of particular consequence to our wedding, since it will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas (across the street from UNCC and therefore mere minutes from the den of car fumes and chicken bones that is Lowe’s Motor Speedway). It sucks that the race is the second week of October, because when Danny and I first got engaged we really wanted to be married on October 14th. C’est la vie.

      Thanks for the link to the Fish article… I’ll check it out. I read his book Professional Correctness (I think that’s the title?) fall semester.

      And the possibility of life-long bragging rights over Danny IS the reason I’m taking up golf. ::evil cackle::

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