Giant Kid's Playground

by Ellen in


"Why else would they open a large play area for children, hang up a sign saying "Giant Kid's Playground", and then wonder why everyone stays away from it? (Answer: everyone is scared of the Giant Kid.)"

I wanted to say a little something about this GREAT book I'm reading. It's called "Eats, Shoots and Leaves." I think someone smart (was it you, Steve? I can't remember) told me to read it a long time ago, and there it was in this bookstore/cafe I wandered into after my run last week. (Quick sidenote--this is my new favorite place in SF. The food is amazing and cheap, and a guy who works there is from Whitehaven and may or may not have made me a free chocolate milkshake.)

ANYWAY, this book is every nerd's indulgence. It's strictly about punctuation and its misuses in the world/the history of punctuation. I'm IN LOVE with this book, and I laugh out loud on every page. It's written by a British woman named Lynne Truss, and her bone-dry humor (about punctuation, no less) just kills me in a good way. She is just so funny. And she makes it OK to be a stickler about grammar and punctuation by telling her reader to unleash his or her Inner Stickler. THANK YOU, Lynne Truss.

I have a lot of favorite quotations from this book, but I think this one really exemplifies her personality and her point: "In fact one might dare to say that while the full stop is the lumpen male of the punctuation world (do one job at a time; do it well; forget about it instantly), the apostrophe is the frantically multi-tasking female, dotting hither and yon, and succumbing to burnout from all the thankless effort." She is, of course, speaking about how many jobs the apostrophe has to do and how it is most often abused. And this only one chapter on the apostrophe. Let me tell you, I want to be a part of the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe almost as badly as I want to be in Dumbledore's Army.

Anyway, this book does not teach you how to use punctuation. It is really more about making fun of the people who don't know how to use it and asking for action from punctuation loves to stop the madness!

I'm with Lynne Truss--everyone who speaks English MUST learn their its and it's; their your and you're, and their there, their, and they're.

Yet another thing for which I can blame St. Mary's (and my dad): my infinite and abounding love for grammar and punctuation. I'd give anything to go back to 6th grade and diagram sentences all day. Or even the 10th grade where we devoted an entire quarter to syntax. And oh, the days of spelling tests, how I long for you.

More confessions: I broke up with a boy in college mainly because he overused words, couldn't spell, and used big words that were always out of context. You can't blame a guy for trying, but come ON. I mean, we broke up for other reasons, but his lack of knowledge about the English language was something I wanted to change so badly, but couldn't. It's a total deal-breaker. It's rude to correct, and impossible to change=not getting along.

Also, if there is a candidate running for president who does not know how to correctly use/say the word "nuclear", he/she will not get my vote just based on principle.

Oh, I'm HORRIBLE. But now you know: I'm a snob. I guess there are worse things. But, as with all things, I know I'm not alone.

Sticklers Unite!