closed form

i’m not really a grammar snob at all, okay? i use prepositions at the end of sentences and i say “him” instead of “he” like 17 times a day. if anything i am a LOGIC snob. and i don’t think snob is the word at all. i am a logic user. see my theory about periods inside or outside of quotation marks [okay there is no where to see it so i’ll just tell you: i don’t think periods should ALWAYS be inside the quotation marks because sometimes it doesn’t make sense in that whole non-associative operation algebra equation-type way].

so this is what happened today:

there is a sign that is needed in most campgrounds and that sign should say this: [would a grammar snob use so many colons?] CHECKOUT TIME IS 11 AM.

last week at some point i participated in putting some of these checkout signs up in one of the campgrounds where i work. as i was posting them, i realized that they said this: [in white letters on a black background] CHECKOUT TIME [underneath in black letters on a white background] check-out time is 11 am.

i wondered for a moment if there was some instances in which the hyphenated “check-out” was was the proper form of the word and also some in which the closed “checkout” was appropriate. after considering this for about a second though, i decided that these 2 checkouts were being used in the same phrase and should therefore look the same. i also concluded that it mattered less that the correct checkout was used and more that the 2 checkouts agreed with each other.

and then today i was asked to find these signs on the computer and create some more of them for a different campground. of course i was excited. also i was feeling another feeling at that time and that feeling was hungry.

i found the signs and was about to make the checkouts agree with each other when this happened:

me: [across the room to my boss] okay so i am going to change this sign so the 2 times we use the word “checkout” they are spelled the same.

boss: no.

me: no i mean in one of the checkouts there is a dash and in one there isn’t.

boss: you can’t change it.

me: well i think we need to because this is wrong.

boss: no it isn’t.

me: yes i’m pretty sure it is.

boss: it doesn’t matter.

me: well it is grammatically incorrect so i think it does matter.

boss: no it doesn’t matter. no one will notice.

me: i noticed. it’s wrong. it looks bad.

boss: no, no one will notice and i don’t think there are many english majors going through the park looking for these things lizzy.

me: it doesn’t matter if people don’t think they notice. just because people are stupid doesn’t mean we have to be.

[at this point i am very hungry and suddenly incredibly emotional. my voice is slightly raised and while i realize i am on the verge of yelling at my boss because of a grammar issue, i also feel that this is the battle i’ve been waiting to choose. my boss is also getting a little animated.]

boss: i don’t care. you cannot change it.

me: it’s wrong. the word canNOT be spelled both of these ways IN ONE SIGN. we need to fix it.

boss: no. i already said this sign looked fine and it has to match the sign in the other campground.


boss: the signs have to be consistent with each other.

me: what about INTERNAL consistency?!

[silence. my boss considers a new approach.]

boss: you know sometimes people misspell words just to get your attention.

[this is the last straw. first everyone is reading harry potter and i am getting laughed at for asking someone to stop using “gay” as an un-ironic synonym for stupid and now i am being told i can’t fix a grammar mistake on a sign used to REPRESENT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT! i lay my head down on the desk.]

me: well you’ll have to print it out on your own then because i just can’t do this with a good conscience.

boss: no, i’m busy. you need to just stop this. print it off yourself.

[i think about crying. i sit there for a second and try to put this whole thing in perspective. i think about the cat we ran over in our car the other day. perspective is bad.]

me: [under my breath] this doesn’t matter. this doesn’t matter. this doesn’t matter. [aloud to my boss] i just want you to know you are killing me a little by making me do this. [i push print.]

courtney love’s mom, my therapist for 2 weeks back in 2001, once told me, “you just feel things more strongly than other people.” i think about this a lot. i think i might have been able to prove the superior strength of my feelings today through science had the correct emotion gauges been attached to my body when this whole thing went down. i was angry enough to start yelling and screaming and crying. if i was in high school, i would have caused a scene. it would have been mr. spartan all over again but this time a grammar crusade.

though they are the same thing i think. futile battles for rationality. it’s brain waves against shot guns.

don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes i hate everybody.