I was talking to my Sister Heidi the other day on Skype. I know “Hansi and Heidi”….how cute… how German! Anyway she lives in Germany now, and despite going to all the same LA schools I did, even graduating from UCLA, she has slowly lost her command of the mother tongue, but not so much as to spare me a sound lashing with it.
She was telling me about how much she likes my blog, and without breaking step or taking a new breathe of air, jumps right in my shit about proof reading the stuff I write. “Don’t you proof read what you write?” “Of course” I say. “Kinda”. She was quick to point out the many grammatical and linguistic errors I’ve made. Like writing illegible instead of illegal in one of my pieces. [Big deal. You know what I meant; and like we used to say in the Probation Department: “close enough for government work”]
Now this was humiliating, especially considering that she’s been speaking a whole lot more German than English for the past 40 years. She thinks in German; dreams in German, and hardly sounds like a good ol’ Southern California girl who used to speak our un-accented brand of English so flawlessly. I had to remind her though, that she too was subject to linguistic brain farts. We were once talking about Easter and she meant to say something about the resurrection, but instead called it the…”Re-Erection.” What a Bonner! But I knew what she meant, and Hey….same difference. Both refer to bringing something back to life.
The basic problem for me is relying on Spell-check to do my thinking for me. If it ain’t in red, it must be OK. Not only do I not have to no how to spell. I don’t even half to think. It’s sew much easier. Damn you evil Spell-check! I was subsequently upbraided for my reliance on a machine doing all the work for me. [Actually I do proof read my stuff, but am so well medicated when I do, that by the time I scroll to the bottom of the post, I’ve totally forgotten about any errors I may have noticed….Didn’t want to tell her that].
But here’s the good part, when we went to visit Heidi last September, she used a GPS device “Tom Tom” to get us all over Germany, even to Frankenstein’s Castle! (Yep…that’s ol’ Hansi next to the sign; burg means castle in German). This thing was programed with a female voice named “Lisa”. Lisa was very helpful and always polite, but it was fun to hear ol’ Lisa jump in Heidi’s shit when she missed a turn. Lisa was so insistent and merciless in her admonitions, that my sister had to placate Lisa with loving reassurances that Heidi was aware of the transgression, and rectify (good thing I didn’t write rectum by mistake) the matter forthwith. I sure learned a lot of German from Lisa. Got ‘turn right’ and ‘turn left’ down pat.
I guess Heidi is right! Gotta stop relying on a machine. She encouraged me to do my own thinking, and provided examples to highlight the importance of proper punctuation and Capitalization.
“Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse, and helping your uncle jack off a horse.” she said. And the phrase: Jack said the teacher was an ass. Could mean two very different things depending on punctuation: 1) Jack said,“ the teacher was an ass.” Or 2) “Jack”, said the teacher,“was an ass”
Thank you heidi, for the Help.