Maybe it's because I was raised by a cranky old woman and now I'm turning into one. I'm not entirely sure. Although Gram remains one of my favorite people in the world, she was never shy to tell me, when she thought I was wrong, that I was a stupid jackass. Seriously! Something along the lines of, "Only a jackass would think that was a smart thing to do/say/think/whatever." Along those lines, she often told me that Liz and I left more fingerprints around the house than she did because we were from a lower class of people than she was, and therefore had more oil in our fingertips. Hmm. I thought it was because we were young and kept touching our faces a lot, but who knew? Perhaps she was descended from the greatest poets and warriors of Ireland. When I studied Irish history with Professor Jeremiah Ring in college and told him where the two sides of her family originated, he shook his head sadly, frowned, and said that they were definitely not high-class areas. But I kept that to myself, because I made the choice not to judge based on where a person was from, or indulge in stereotyping. Enough said, yes?
Although I don't refer to others as jackasses (unless they do really horrifically stupid things while driving, in which case Trent and I award them J.A. points) I have to admit that people often drive me crazy. In these days of quick internet communication and reporting, it seems that the standards of writing and editing have gone by the wayside. Or perhaps the editors in question have a less than solid grip on the basics of the language. These days it seems that I read a news or entertainment-type story at least once daily that makes the writer look as though they aren't quite up to the task at hand. Today I looked at two different entertaining news stories, and found myself shaking my head in dismay. One article had the line, "...has since wrote a book..." What?! She has since wrote a book? Try written, my dear. Please. Another story, which showed models struggling to walk runways in ridiculously tall and dangerous shoes, ended with, "Let's here it for these models." Umm, no. Here refers to location, my dear writer. How about, "Let's hear it for these models," as in let's give a cheer which we all can hear? It drives me crazy.
There's something else confounding that happens every year. I'm referring to the over-eager, under-informed Independence Day comments. I am sad to report that there are many people here in the USA that have no idea when the Declaration of Independence was signed. And I can tell you, with a dread-filled certainty, that somewhere in the USA, heartfelt comments such as these will appear on July 4, 2015. "Happy Birthday, USA! 2015 years old today," or, "Happy Birthday, America, 2015 years old today!" There are couple of very important things here that drive this child of immigrants crazy. One: America is not a country. There are two continents, North and South America, with the bits in the center often referred to as Central America. Two: the United States of America declared independence from England, or the United Kingdom, in 1776. When July 4, 2015 rolls around, the USA will be 239 years of age. I don't know for sure how old North America, the continent, will be in 2015, but it will be pretty darn old. Much older than 2015 years, for certain.
There's other little things that have me mystified. I know that languages are living, changing things. Sometimes the changes happen deliberately, like the LOL and LEL and SMH and ROTFL and other assorted spoons of alphabet soup. I accept that, and understand it fully. Heck, I remember when gross changed from 144 (a dozen dozen) to icky or disgusting. But it's stuff like people saying agreeance instead of agreement that sets my teeth on edge. (By the way, some sources say that agreeance is acceptable, but I just can't handle it. I think it's gross.) And people saying "now in days." What the heck does that mean, anyway? Just use the good old-fashioned nowadays, please. Or "I could care less," which is essentially a statement that you do care, instead of "I couldn't care less." It drives me crazy. But at least it's a short trip!