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A hope note

My first e-mail of the day, from a friend, proclaimed: ‘When people say something is ‘done’ rather than ‘finished,’ it drives me nuts. People are finished and turkeys are done!!!!!!!’
I had two visceral reactions. One was: ‘Get a life! You really need to get out more.’ Funny how we can let minuscule things drive us nuts. One of my mentors used to say, ‘It’s not the sharks in life you have to worry about, but the minnows.’
My second response to the e-mail, I have to confess, was: ‘I hate it when people use more than one exclamation mark!’ If your word choice is adequate, you don’t need to hold your finger down on the exclamation key.
Grammar nuances and niceties, I admit, are overly important to me. My wife, in another room, heard me groan recently when an anchor person on the local evening news said, ‘They should have consulted with he and I.’
Frequently I hear people with several degrees say things like, ‘I should have went home’ or ‘I shouldn’t have drank so much’ or ‘Her and me had a great time,’ and I cringe.
I wrote a column a year or so ago that spelled the word ‘peek,’ p-e-a-k. A reader e-mailed and sarcastically exposed my error. I’m still smarting. A pox on his house.
Back in 1837, two University of Paris law professors dueled with swords. The issue was a semicolon. The London Times reported, ‘The one who contended that the passage in question ought to be concluded by a semicolon was wounded in the arm. His adversary maintained that it should be a colon.’
In mellow old age, I aspire to practice Aristotle’s ‘golden mean,’ neither slaughtering the King’s English nor drawing my sword over a semicolon.

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