Jumping back slightly to expand on my previous entry… G goes off the deep end at the constant massacre of the English language. He pulls up examples of the worst and points them in my direction, his jaw clenched and eyes narrowed. If he was a spitting cobra I’d be running.
The truly awful stuff, the stuff that shows simple written communication is beyond that person’s abilities, just makes me shake my head. I can even empathize to a degree. Illiteracy I get.
It’s the ongoing, repetitive screw-ups that make me nuts. One in particular makes me want to take a metal claw and gouge out the offending misspell from my monitor. At least a couple of times a day I see people who refer to “rod iron.” I actually shrieked at my monitor last night: “It’s WROUGHT iron, you fucking moron!” (In reality it wasn’t wrought iron either. It was cheap steel pipes painted black. But that’s another pet peeve.) If it were only one person I would probably chuckle and ignore it. Unfortunately it’s pervasive, so pervasive I expect the idiot brigade eventually to rip into anyone with the audacity to spell it right.
Being a writer makes me particularly sensitive to the slaughter of the tongue. Taking semantics to their extreme, a well placed word is an aphrodisiac or incitement, a balm or a bomb, a release or a prison. I soar with the beauty of words, bite my nails when they turn suspenseful, smile at the tacit knowing wink of subtle comedies. Which is why I cringe when I see the erosion of words. I see it as a treasure carelessly destroyed.
Then again… people like me, the ones who know how to spell, end up secretaries to the people with barely enough intellectual capacity to scratch their own asses. (And a few for whom that is debatable.) Looking back to this post from La the Sage, the vernable La pointed out how the schoolyard overachievers tend to lose that drive once school is out. After that we’re overtaken (and often bulldozed over) by the kids in the middle of the road. It’s not the bottom of the barrel; those all too often stay in place. It’s the middle group out in front after academia, the people for whom work is the expectation whether or not there are immediate tangible rewards.
I’m kind of this hybrid child. I was always one of the smart kids in school. I graduated Valedictorian with a four year 4.0+ GPA. (There were extra points for advanced classes, and I got straight A’s in all classes, all years.) In my senior year, our gifted Science program included an IQ test. Of the forty-something in the class, I was dead last in IQ. Still high enough to qualify me for Mensa, but substantially lower than my peers. It was enough of a differential that I was more or less taken aside. They wanted to know what the “dumb” kid of the bunch did to come out on top in spite of a perceived handicap.
My answer was pretty simple: I worked harder because I wanted it more.
I didn’t add I wanted it more so I could escape from Hell at home, but that was another story.
Therein lies my thought on the phenomenon. For some of us who excelled in school, it was visions of escape as much as visions of greatness. I never gave a fig if I was rich or poor, as long as I could live a reasonably peaceful existence. Massive amounts of money still don’t really matter to me. I would welcome a few million dollars if it was offered to me, no strings attached. My soul, though, that stays with me. The For Sale sign applies strictly to my work.
It’s that lack of commitment undercutting all my millions. I suppose if I wanted bucket loads of money to the exclusion of everything else it would come to me. My heart lies elsewhere.