Monday, August 02, 2010

The Importance of Being Earnest (at Least in All Things Grammatical)

Today I was given a rug for our new school. Somewhere in between finishing "The Eumenides" and beginning "Medea" I found time to wash the rug out in the front yard. To help remove extra water I scrounged up a plastic ruler to use in a squeegee-like fashion (the effects of which greatly impressed my little people). Being well trained to read any letters that enter my vision (a tendency I now fight, given the sad decline in the civility of most bumper stickers), I took in the words on the ruler and continued squishing water with it.

Then I stopped and examined the ruler more carefully. Yes, there was a reason my brain was flashing red alert signals to the part of my anatomy that is connected to a red pen much of the year. The ruler, which was most likely a freebie from a fire safety booth at last year's fair, featured the ubiquitous Smokey the Bear and his earnest message about fire safety. The message, however, didn't convey quite what was intended, I'm sure: "Smokey friends don't play with matches".

Now I ask you, if my smokey friends don't play with matches, then how do they become smokey? Cigarettes? Campfires? Arson?

In all earnestness, the only thing left for me to say is that Smokey's friends should play with a grammar book sometime soon. It will make a nice replacement for the matches.

(Oh yes--and remember, only you can prevent forest fires...)