Monday, March 5, 2012

A Chance to Pause

   I have been writing this pizza blog for over a year now and usually before it goes out, my editor and wife (Sheri) will add punctuation, correct grammatical errors and give it the once over.  She teaches 5th grade and has been teaching that level for as far back as I care to remember. Of course, in their curriculum, it will include a lot of writing skills, which includes grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, introduction, main content, and ending as well as the typical spelling words to learn. Math, science, reading, and history round out the curriculum as well but writing is where I happen to fall prey to the 5th grade teaching vulture that I occasionally let proof read my blogs for correctness before publishing.

   She hates my run on sentences but even worse, hates that I don't put enough commas into my blog writing. Commas are for a pause, I thought but if I stop to pause, I will lose my train of thought and get writer's block or have to go watch something mindless on TV until I regain that train of thought again.
   The rules of English grammar have changed since I was a kid. I can remember a time when we didn't have to put a comma before a conjunction like and or but. Now, she says, we are supposed to. "I teach this stuff so I should know," she says. I suppose punctuation economy isn't as important now as it used to be. There seems to be an abundance of commas these days, so I don't have to be so cheap about using them and spreading them around. Growing up in house with 4 brothers we had to learn to share and do without the unnecessary things but stock piling punctuation marks for a rainy day just wasn't something we learned to do. We did learn to make do and it became a way of life into our adult years as well. Sheri, my grammar vulture, I mean, my lovely wife of 36 years, will read this and want to add anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen commas into the blog. I let her go at it and she sprinkles them down like feeding pop corn to a bunch of ducks. When I hear that many keys clacking on the keyboard I have to look over her shoulder and see what could've been so barren that she has to throw in that many commas.  I suppose they are free but I was raised not to waste anything worthwhile, even if it was free. 
   One day I walked in on her when she was clacking away with her teacher/vulture look at my blog. I had to interrupt her and say, "Oh Sheri! By the way, Google called, and they say they're running out of commas, so lighten up." The last thing I want is Google sending me a bill for excessive comma usage in my blog.
   She could be right though. If I did use a larger palette of punctuation marks I might not be apt to have so many run on sentences. Is that such a crime though? When they run out of criminals on America's Most Wanted are they going to start looking for grammar offenders and fugitives of run on sentences leaving a paper trail all over the internet while creating a real shortage of commas across the country?
   It could be worse, I suppose. Being frugal with the cheese or pepperoni I might upset somebody. Suggesting that pizza night will only be one night a week would be a shame. However, I am able to get even with her when I tell the true story of how we met in 1973.
No Buttflies!
    I was working at a Girl Scout Summer Camp in Arizona in the kitchen when she, as a counselor, came in to meet the cooks wearing her blue jeans which she had embroidered with colorful little rainbows, flowers and mushrooms. Remember, it was the 70's! Amidst all the googah was her favorite saying, "Butterflies are Free" only, she had a typo. When I showed her the mistake which actually read Buttflies are Free, she hadn't realized she left the e r off of butterfly when embroidering it. I had been the only one to detect her mistake. She married me anyway and from that point on I became her expert speller and years later had to spell check her Master's Thesis before she turned it in.  Maybe all this comma editing is her way of paying me back. BTW, she hasn't seen this last paragraph so it may be short a couple of commas. She proof read everything above this and added 4 commas, a quotation mark and one set of italics. OK, I added this picture, so now we're even!