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...)


Unknown said...

Oh Larinda~ You gave me a much needed laugh!
I hope your summer has been a good one~~~~~~Does my misuse of these little ~ squiggly ~ lines send up the red ink pen alert? :p

Loudlife said...

Oh, Rin! That made me laugh! "Smokey friends!" I also googled that other story from yesterday. This is what I got:

I love the last one they cited that had every word misspelled except "exit." You would think that if you lived in the area, you'd have some idea how to spell the names of area towns!

larin said...

Crystal--The summer has been a good one, but busy because I'm part of a team starting a new school. (Or is that shcool? Which seems to be all the rage these days! See Laurie's links.) And yes, I feel a red pen coming on... Ahhh, NO! ;-)

Laurie--That story makes my kids laugh, too. Even my third grader knew what was wrong with it! Teaching sure gives me plenty of opportunities to find interesting mistakes.

The most irritating of the year? Eachother. I wrote the two words on the opposite side of the board to illustrate that there should always be space between them, but I had five students who consistently spelled each other as one word, so I'm thinking they were taught it somewhere!

My favorite mistake of the year? Attidude. That one just says it all! ;-)

Loudlife said...

My pet peeve is spelling a lot as one word, "alot." Two tiny little words that can't get spelled correctly.

Yes, my daughter, an incoming first grader, knows how to spell school - although many others are more "best guess" type spellings!

Jenny Mertes said...

Funny! I so enjoy your writing, Rin, especially about all things grammatical. Your story reminds me of the "Smokey Bear" or "Smokey THE Bear" debate. I grew up with Smokey the Bear, but sometime in the past 25 years, he dropped his "the." I miss it.

larin said...

Jenny, I am solidly in your camp. I think it should be Smokey THE Bear. It's too close to just being an adjective otherwise. I mean really, maybe he's one of my smokey friends. Of course, either way he doesn't play with matches, so I guess he's all right! Or is that alright? (Hee hee)

larin said...

Laurie--I agree about a lot. Hate it!

Anonymous said...

Well, at 10:54pm, I found this hysterical...I know, it's not THAT FUNNY, but I've been up since VERY EARLY (I'm not an early bird) and therefore, the lack of sleep...need I continue?!