Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black-Ops: Grammar Caper

Face It: They HAD Their Chance

I'm not the type of person to go all "Navy Seal" on an issue: normally, I will have my little meltdowns publicly (see Coke-Ops of ten years ago), and I try to get folks to see the right way of things: my way. Sadly, at times, I'm just another kook who must be patted on the head until he goes away...tilting at some other windmill. But tonight was different.
I don't know if it was the fact that I had to work sunday night or that there were 35 essays awaiting my critical eye or that a student who was scheduled to meet with me decided she needed to unpack (even though she has a critical essay due tomorrow morning) or that I was just feeling ornery after a less-than-scintillating weekend. Whatever it was, my inner vigilante got out, and I made a move others were too afraid, ignorant or lazy to make. The Grammar Gods are smiling about now.
At the entrance to the fitness center in the athletics department where I work, there is a sign that informs visitors that they may not wear "outside" shoes while exercising in the facility but must, instead,have another pair just for getting their sweat on. The sign, which has caused me immense aggravation for 11 weeks, read "Second pair of shoes are required."
I've always felt that a university should promote literacy at every turn, so I noted the error to several people in the appropriate manner. I verbally pointed out the mistake and offered "student of the year" points to whoever fixed it; I discussed the matter with the head of the physical plant as well as the head of the intramural activities. None of them cared enough to change the plural verb into the correct singular form. In fact, I'm not completely certain any of them even understood the concept of subject-verb agreement. Once I pointed it out, however, I would have expected someone to fix the error: after all, it was only a Word document with a picture of a pair of shoes ( a PAIR, NOT two shoes). Nobody cared.
Tonight, however, I cared more deeply than ever. After the staff had left, and I was certain that my student appointment was not coming, I slipped surreptitiously through the darkened hallways, filched the offending sign, and duplicated it so that it now reads "Second pair of shoes is required." The stealth with which I completed this maneuver would have done an Edgar Alan Poe character justice, copying the message on pink...just as the original was, and in the original font. I apologized the the wood nymphs and tree gods for using six sheets of paper to get the size just right.
No doubt, the place will be agog tomorrow when the alteration is discovered.
I'll have to remember to wipe off the face black.


At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this made me smile.


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