Our take on things


I've always wanted to be a writer ever since I was in grade school. My first "success" as a writer, was with a story I wrote as freshman in high school entitled "The Attack of the Giant Blueberries". What I mean by success is that some of my friends found it humorous. That is what I called success in those days. But, then I followed it up with a short story called "The Tomato That Ate Sandusky". At that point, I got my first taste of "writer's disappointment".

I think anyone who writes thinks everything they are writing now is better than what they wrote before. But newer does not mean better. "Tomato" was not better than "Blueberries" - no one thought it was hilarious. I was despondent. My writing career was over at the age of 15.

But, I got over it. And, I know that everyone reading this is salivating at the thought that links to these two puerile masterpieces are forthcoming. I'm really sorry to disappoint you. Neither of those blockbusters survived the passage of time. So, it is with great regret that I am not able to provide these two stories to you and allow you to immerse your eyeballs and chortle at all the big gobs of humor therein. Yes, I know it's a big disappointment. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get over it.

Anyway, as much as I'd like to be a writer, I'm just a ham-and-egger. Regardless of the lack of financial rewards, or readership outside of a very small cadre of loyal readers, there is nothing more rewarding, or fulfilling, than connecting with a reader - even if it is only one. Whether my words bring a smile, a tear, a tug at the heart, a laugh, a roll of the eyes, or even anger, it is an amazing feeling to connect with people through the power of words. It's a great feeling to connect with a reader, like you, for instance.

Alas, I am not a student of the English language. I am not good transient verbs or with dangling participles such as: "Walking back home yesterday, a car nearly ran over me". Nor, as you can see, am I particularly adept at punctuation. I am never quite sure what the heck a semi-colon is good for anyway. I notice even large publications seem to avoid them. But, there's something about them I like. They're good for a lot of things - especially places where a comma doesn't seem to provide enough oomph! - if you get my meaning. So, once in while I use them where they don't belong, because I like to. Simple as that.

More importantly, we cannot afford to hire an editor to whip my raw yammerings into masterpieces of English prose. The best I can do is EB. Which, I might add, so aptly demonstrates the old aphorism "you get what you pay for".

Besides, the rules of English grammar have changed in the decades since I was a beer-drinking, womanizing, carousing college student (and I want to tell you that I miss those days!). Just the other day, I was talking to my master-degreed son, and I said something like "What are you doing that for?" I realized the preposition at the end of that sentence and I quickly rephrased it saying: "I mean, why are you doing that?" My son, who is educated in these kinds of important things, told me that it's perfectly OK these days, to end a sentence with a preposition. I guess he knows what he's talking about. I've spent a lot of my money so he can point out the errors of my ways.

Anyway, words, I think, are the most powerful things mankind has at its disposal. Words can express love, destroy civilizations, incite anger, induce tears, start and end wars, create empires, and anything else your mind can conjure up (sorry about that preposition there, but it's ok now!).

Consider the words "pacifist" and "soldier". When you see the word "pacifist" you have reaction to it, don't you? Some of you will have a negative reaction and some of you will have a positive reaction. The same is true of the word "soldier". And, it is our own frame of reference and our own experience that will ultimately determine exactly how we will react to those two words. But, being a citizen of the U.S.A. my feeling is that most of you who live in America will react negatively to "pacifist" and positively to "soldier". The sentences: "My son is a soldier" and "My son is a pacifist" will elicit reactions from each of you. Americans will react differently than Australians, I think. But, I have no way of knowing how those of you in other parts of the world will react. But, I know you will have a reaction.

Anyway, I read an article the other day in the Cleveland Plain Dealer by a syndicated columnist (and I cannot remember her name). She makes big bucks by writing the same stuff I do. She probably has high-paid editors at her disposal night and day, so there weren't any grammatical errors in her column. But, I am not sure I'd recognize any but the most obvious ones anyway :).

Her column was about the word "so" and how useful a word it is. It was a good article. I wish I could find it and let you read it. Anyway, what she wrote is so true. "So" is a wonderful word that can be use in so many ways. So, anyway, she pointed out:

"So, how are you today?"

"That old, rotten so-and-so."

"Everything was just so."

"That filling took so long to complete, I fell asleep in the dentist's chair."

"He couldn't find his wallet so he went back home to get it."

"So! You cheated on your husband (wife), eh?"

So many ways to use the word "so". Indeed, "so" is a very nice

Anyway, you get the picture. Useful words are those words we can use in a variety of situations.

Which brings me to the word "anyway". I love the word "anyway". "Anyway", like "so" can be used in a variety of ways. The fact that I use the word "anyway" too much, came to my attention one day while I was talking to my OLD friend in Georgia. He gets so irritated when I use that word, and he just has to point it out to me every time I use it -which is very often - especially with him.

Now, I know why it irritates him so much. I use the word "anyway" as segue to another topic when the current topic of discussion is getting boring or redundant. He and I talk often so, and being "not-so-young" anymore, we often discuss things that are boring or disgusting. Anyway, I often have to move him out of his groove of conversation and try to politely move him along in another direction when he starts yammering on about something I find boring or (more often) disgusting.

He, on the other hand, isn't so polite. When he finds my yammerings boring or boorish, he will say something like: "All right! Enough of that. Let's talk about something else!". See, he doesn't pull any punches. He is harsh. He is ill-mannered. But, he's my friend so I put up with him. We all have friends like him. He offers no comforting segues. I, on the other hand, am more considerate of his feelings. I think "anyway" is a much more polite way to change topics and let people know you're going to move the conversation in another direction - or let them know what they are saying is not very interesting, in a nice way.

Anyway, I want to point out that "anyway" is an adverb. It can be used in several ways. For instance: "I don't care what you think, I'm going to wear my pink shirt anyway." Or you can use it like this: "I don't know what happened to my glasses. Anyway, they're broken." Or, you can use it, as I love to do, as a way to transition between one thought to another and use "anyway" to mean "moving right along". Great way to tell someone you're talking to that you're not the least bit interested in what they're saying - and that you have much more important and interesting things to say than they do. I love to use "anyway" like this!

One thing you can't use "anyway" for, is anywhere that you can use the words "in the way" for. (Now, that was an awkward sentence!). For instance: "Finish the essay anyway you choose!" See?  "Finish the essay in the way you choose." Got it? Now, you could use the words "in the way" instead of anyway, which means, the sentence should be "Finish the essay any way you choose." "Finish the essay in the way you choose."

Now, all you English geeks out there, be forewarned: I know I'm right about this! I checked with The Oxford. So, don't argue with me! Anyway, arguing with me is futile because I can't help myself. I'm too old and too dumb to learn mechanically correct English. I'm not in 8th grade anymore, so don't lecture me!

And, anyway, concentrating on adverbs, transient verbs, participles, pronouns, and that kind of boring stuff, would cramp the flow of creative juices (which by-the-way, I feel will dry up soon and leave me with no choice but to write technical manuals for alarm clocks). If I did concentrate on dangling verbs and transient nouns, and all that other junk they teach you in school, these articles would be things like "The Mating Habits of the Bolivian Spider Moth" or "Why the Hungarian Sewer Lizard Drinks More Than The Australian Green 'G'day' Lizard". I mean, like, who cares, anyway? Would you even bother to read that kind of slop? I have a hard enough time getting you to read this kind of stuff.

I admit that I'm jealous of that syndicated-columnist-woman who gets paid big bucks to yammer on about the same stuff I do for free. Just because she has lots of editors and I have none, doesn't seem fair. If I got paid big bucks to write this stuff, I'd have editors too. And then, dear friends, these articles would be gleaming examples of grammatically correct, rhetorical splendor and studied by English students everywhere! But, anyway, I'm sorry they're not.

I wish I could find "The Attack of the Giant Blueberries". I am quite sure you would enjoy it.

Anyway, I think I hear a Bolivian Spider Moth flapping around outside my door. Let me go see.

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