24 September 2014

How Not to Be a Grammar Nazi

Grammaz nazis. We've all met them. We've all suffered their pointed glares and spiny corrections. If we look deep enough inside and pretend this kind of pseudo-intellectual crap works on us, we're all a little bit grammar nazi. But, before we get to the how-to-not bit, let's talk about what a grammar nazi is and isn't.

  • Grammar nazis are not the worst. Actual Nazis are the worst.
  • Grammar nazis are still OK with having "nazi" be part of their sobriquet, so, yeah, not the best.
  • Grammar nazis are crusaders of dubious holiness for the right and proper use of English and like to be sure everybody knows it in the most prickly and self-righteous way possible.
Good! Now we all know about grammar nazis! But what if someone's grammar needs correcting FOR REAL? Here are some tips on non-grammar nazi ways to handle the situation.

  • Does the mistake considerably alter the meaning? Correct away!
  • Be nice about it. Nobody likes a nag!
  • Try assuming they meant what you and everybody else is sure they must've meant!
  • You could even try a private message to alert the person to their mistake so they can correct it without the distracting public ridicule!
Now, finally, if you encounter a situation wherein a minor grammatical flub raises your blood pressure to unhealthy levels, how do you avoid being a grammar nazi? How do you stay your hand against the ever-rising and apparently historically unprecedented tide of linguistic abusers?

  • Take a chill pill. Xanax, Vicodin, or even just straight alcohol are all good.
  • Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you feel the need to correct grammar, especially online. Pretty soon, you'll have a hell of a welt!
  • Stop being a pedantic dick. Cold turkey.
  • Be aware you could be committing a number of logical fallacies, include ad hominem, equivocation, tu quoque, missing the point, red herring, and, ad hominem again because it's so commonplace.
  • Try being supportive. if you're not sure what that is, try asking a mom or a friend. Doesn't have to be yours.
  • Oh dear, the mom or friend made a grammar sin, didn't they?
  • Did you try any of the above?
  • You say they didn't work at all and you're filled with the fiery rage of ten thousand hells?
  • How about a cold shower?
  • Well, fine! Just strangle them, then! See if I care! You can be a grammar nazi from behind bars!
  • Your last sentence contained a split infinitive AND you ended it with a preposition to avoid awkward phrasing. QED, asshole!

17 September 2014

How to Know if You Should Own and Operate a Recumbent Tricycle

You've got a big decision in front of you, but I can tell you're the kind of person willing to make the tough choices. You actively scavenge Mason jars from recycling bins and thrift stores without a care for what your neighbors think. You routinely derail conversations to point out you don't own a television. You've carved a hash pipe out of homemade soap in what you're sure is record time for that sort of thing.

Yet, as ready as you may seem to be, even the batshittingly craziest of us need help deciding if it's time to own a recumbent tricycle. I've provided the following self-assessment to help you determine if you're ready to be one of the largely unwashed elite.

Please answer honestly.

  1. Have you ever wondered how to balance the moral superiority of using non-motorized transport with your desire to be in a La-Z-Boy most of the day?
  2. Do you like to draw attention to yourself by taking up an entire sidewalk, or spilling out beyond the boundaries of dedicated bike lanes, especially so you can later complain about the impatience of car drivers or the entitlement of those dining al fresco?
  3. Do you need a way to safely and conveniently transport way too much cat food for just one cat?
  4. Are your pockets usually filled with loose trail mix?
  5. Do you already own either a (dirty) tie dye or (very dirty) American flag bandana, or both?
  6. Do you enjoy talking to baristas at coffee shops for extended periods of time, regardless of other customers waiting, without tipping or, sometimes, purchasing anything at all?
  7. Do you like it when people assume you're a veteran, even though you're not?
  8. Do you have no business having a pony tail?
  9. Are you, or have you been for more than a decade, an adjunct professor of world religion or poetry at a mostly unknown liberal arts college?
  10. Do you like to give young people sage advice in the form of enigmatic, out-of-context misquotes of Grateful Dead lyrics?
  11. Is your response to holes in socks to simply turn the socks inside out and continue wearing them?
  12. Same as above, but for all other clothing?
  13. Do you like to talk to complete strangers about your ardent support of polyamory despite their obvious discomfort and your obvious lack of regular human contact?
  14. Do you, despite all objective evidence to the contrary, think recumbent tricycles are cool?
  15. Do you have one or more stories about doing drugs with someone who you claim knows the bassist for Three Dog Night?
  16. Do you own a backpack, rucksack, or fannypack that looks like it's been through the murder of its previous owner(s)?
  17. Do you mumble on purpose often?
  18. Do you have at least one meal a week that involves adding kale and Velveeta cheese to an expired MRE you got from a buddy?
  19. Do you carry a walking stick with something vaguely Native American or Buddhist carved into or attached to it?
  20. Is it really just because of your untreated IBS?
If you can answer "yes" to any of the above, congratulations! You're ready to own a recumbent tricycle. I'll print off some webpages with more information for you. They'll be in black and white and you won't really get the feel of the "under construction" gifs, but I think you'll agree Gary from Portland, ME really has the best info on which one to buy.