Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Grammar Works for Me

I got a message through Facebook a while ago from a character from my past. We'll call him JB. JB and I dated in high school. We were good friends, then high-school sweethearts. Then, I went off to college and ended our relationship because, well, I had grown up. So had he.

Unfortunately, as breakups tend to be nasty, this one was a bit gnarly. I've always had trouble ending things, whether it be caffeine or nail-biting or work committees or boyfriends. The end to this relationship dragged out for about a semester of my college career. I finally packed up every last morsel that I could find that either belonged to him or he had given me or had anything to do with our relationship. I took the package to him, said, "Here's your stuff," spun around, and left. Finally it was over.

It felt so nasty. And, I haven't really given much thought to him since. Two days after the "here's your stuff" conversation, he joined the armed forces. I heard through the usual grapevine that he had married a gal from our hometown. I finished college, married, moved away, went to grad school, got a job, moved again, had kids. But, then, suddenly comes the wonder that is Facebook. And there he is. In. My. Inbox.

If I'm being honest when I say I have trouble ending things, I'm even more honest when I say that I hate going back where I've been. I get goosebumps (the creepy kind--not the good kind) when I drive near my old high school. Thinking about going to old places of employment "to say hi" makes me feel queasy. I just hate going back.

But there I was, sitting in my chair, looking at the Facebook inbox. Sender: JB. It was a simple message:

just wanted to say hi and see how everything is going these days. I saw you at the game. Wish I had taken time to meet your children. My little girl and I was
there. How is your mom and dad and brother and sister doing? Well I hope.
The first thing I noticed about this message was not the fact that he had been watching me at the hometown football game I attended as part of my 10-year high school reunion festivities. I didn't even notice all the finer rhetorical things going on. Even though Welby and I did discuss the rhetoric of his message at length, burning at least a half hour of time, instead, I noticed the horrible grammar. Because grammar is my weapon of choice.

I should mention here that I am not a grammar snob entirely. Plenty of folks in my life don't use impeccable grammar, and that's fine. I understand. Seriously, I do not go around judging folks based on their grammatical choices...all the time. But, I do reserve that power for desperate times.

I started typing my response, and I just couldn't help myself. I had to bring out the high horse. I used a semicolon.

I'm doing well. I just got back from my ten-year reunion. I can't believe the time has slipped by that quickly. We didn't stay at the game very long. Spark and Flower were both getting tired, so I took them back to their grandma's
house. You have one daughter? And a son? My parents are great. They love being grandparents. My sister married a guy this summer; they just bought a house here
in Austin. My brother has two kids and works construction with Daddy. Right now, they work somewhere near Texarkana.
And I felt much better.

Check out the other Works for Me Wednesday posts at We are THAT family.


Dave @ Home School Dad said...

You have grammatical mistakes in your post about grammar. This sentence sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb: "Even though Welby I did discuss the rhetoric of his message at length, burning at least a half hour of time, instead, I notice the horrible grammar.". I think you need an and between Welby and I. Also, I think you meant noticed rather than notice.

Life can be rough when you have grammarians breathing down your neck.

Actually, I liked your post very much.

Good use of the semicolon by the way.

Martia said...

Duly noted and corrected, Dave. Thanks for the editing. Your message serves as a reminder that I *should* edit my blog posts, but I never take the time to do so!

Anonymous said...

Tsk,tsk. Sentences aren't to be started with the word "and".

Hillary @ The Dunham Diaries said...

Sentences CAN be started with the word and. Just FYI for anonymous.
And I love a semi-colon. It does make you tingle all over- the good way.
Loved this story! And I love me some grammar. Yes, that's what I said. :-)

Anonymous said...

I immediately respect any person who uses a semicolon correctly. That's dorky, I know, but true.

Also, I've had it with Facebook. I've gone three days without logging on to my account, and while I initially felt all itchy, I now feel clean, rested, and lucid.

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