Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grammar Police

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was discussing the police corruption in Jordan. She said, "the cops are corrupt." I heard, "the cops are correct." I hoped that she meant grammatically correct, and was encouraged by the idea that the Jordanian police force considered bad grammar* a crime worth policing; I felt it was an acknowledgment that theft and dangling modifiers can perpetuate the same level of chaos in a society.

The police are meant to maintain order on every level. Take the international police organization known as Interpol. They prevent and investigate large-scale crimes such as terrorism, human trafficking and war crimes. They also prevent me from duplicating my Flashdance VHS.

I would guess that the Orange County police force deals mostly with minor crimes such as reckless driving, shoplifting, and disorderly conduct. They could easily increase their list of misdemeanors to include improper use of the semicolon or confusion of the spellings of their, there and they're. Legally changing grammar mistakes into grammar crimes would legitimize the problems caused by sloppy grammar, and I could plead self-defense when I murder someone for replacing adverbs with adjectives and saying things like, "You did excellent," or "You sing great."

*When I say grammar, I also mean spelling and punctuation.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Accidental Run-In

Our six month old puppy, Inky, has a full brother named Turbo who lives two streets away. We have been trying for a month to coordinate a meeting of the brothers, but Turbo’s owners have been at a Harry Potter camp. Back east. For real.

Last night, on his way home, my brother drove past Turbo and his owners on their nightly walk, and then, two streets down, drove past Inky and I on our nightly walk. Realizing that this could be the chance we’ve been waiting for, he stopped his car and told me where they were. I knew that we would never intersect them before they got home, not when I was working against the distance, Inky’s short legs, and his fear of the dark. The only option left was to create an accidental run-in. Inky and I got into the back seat, and Michael drove us to Turbo’s street. The drop off was timed perfectly, and we ran into Turbo and company on the street corner. Assuming they had not seen Inky and I hop out of the back seat of a red Camry, I acted suitably surprised when we saw each other. They seemed happy to meet Inky, but not suspicious, which leads me to believe they thought we just happened to walk by. I’m pretty sure it was because of my realistic, “Oh hi!” I don’t want to brag, but I really sold it. I have found that the success of a planned-coincidental meeting depends on the quality of the oh hi.

The Turbo incident brings me to my current Facebook dilemma. Given my proclivity for stalking, not to mention my preference (and talent) for Internet stalking, I fear that caving to the Facebook peer pressure could be my downfall. Using Google to stalk limits me in a healthy way. If the search is fruitless, I give up. If I find too much information on the person and feel freaked out at my stalking tendencies, then I again give up. If, through a Web site, my stalking was to become somewhat socially acceptable AND consistently fruitful, would I ever stop? Would Facebook become my gateway drug to actually driving by people's houses and rooting through their trash? I wish I had an answer for you.