Schoolhouse Rock

Joe turned to my friend in English class and said, “fart is a verb.” Joe was kind of sweet on her and thought this would be a good pick-up line. In point of fact, fart can be either a verb or a noun. I won’t bother to conjugate it for you, or come up with adjectives and adverbs to describe it. I shall simply point out the obvious: grammar is not the way to a woman’s heart.

I was dutifully reading Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Writing, in preparation for the final edit of my book. I made it to page 50 before I had to concede that there was nothing quick or dirty about it. You can imagine my disappointment. If you’re going to write a book about something as dry as grammar, you should at least throw in a couple heaving breasts and throbbing manhoods. (Heaving and throbbing are adjectives).

When I was studying for a test on the Internal Revenue Code, I included some flashcards that would make things more interesting:

Joe’s Pleasure Palace employs cocktail waitresses who are paid by the hour, and strippers who are paid by the lap dance. Your entry requirements for the 401(k) plan are one year of service and employment on the last day of the year for all your employees. Does this comply with IRC §410(b)? The answer is: only if you have topless waitresses. It tends to get tricky if the strippers belong to a union.

I assure you, that’s a hoot for trust accountants.

I have found that editing my book is much more pleasurable than repeatedly slamming my head in the door. I’m basing my work on a vague recollection of diagramming sentences in the seventh grade and children’s songs. What could go wrong? By the way, my seventh grade teacher was a sadistic, baby-eating, language nazi. His initials were S.S., which kind of says it all.

Am I going to waver or falter in my dedication to the English language? Probably, but fortunately, (and surprisingly to my dedicated readers) at no point do I use the word “fart” in my book. “Poop,” I can’t swear to.

13 thoughts on “Schoolhouse Rock

  1. I remember diagramming. I still do it once in a while if I’m not sure which tense of the verb I should use in a sentence!

    • Your memory is better than mine if you’re still able to do it. I just remember the chalkboard being covered with little branches for the sentence, “I like candy.”

  2. It sounds to me like your book will be far from dry, in spite of (or perhaps because of) its subject matter!

    If you take the rule ‘i before e, except after c’, you’ll find that that rule does not hold true in the majority of cases. So much for what we were taught at school.

    Good luck with the book.

    • “A noun is a person, place, or thing” was going through my head like a Barry Manilow song the whole time I was writing.

  3. Oh but rules were made to be broken right? Well maybe they weren’t ‘made’ to be broken. Who said that anyway? That’s kind of messed up when you think about it. Why would someone ‘make’ a rule for breaking? Oh heck, now I’m perplexed. The day does not go well when I become perplexed.
    Why was I here?
    Oh yea. The biggest obstacle I stumbled over (repeatedly) when I started blogging was grammar. Was? Still is, actually. Back-in-the-day I could conjugate with the best of them and my diagramming skills were talked about in several counties. Now I can’t figure out when to use ‘lay’ or ‘lie’, ‘laid’ or ‘layed’ or ‘lain’. I hate it when something that has the possibility of being so pleasurable (getting laid….or is it layed…..or lain?) ends up just being a pain in the ass.
    Funny funny post!
    Terri

  4. You had Mr. Smith for 7th grade English too? He took pleasure in standing in the hallway and glaring at all the overwhelmed 7th graders as they tried to sneak past him.

    Editing was the worst part of doing a book. I think the tax code would have been a relief. And readers always spot the mistakes and write to you.

    BTW, hens lay, people lie.

    • Thank goodness there are no hens in my story. Yes, just my luck that he moved to the high school the same time that I did. There was no escaping the man.

  5. Karla, I hate grammar…I don’t know how to conjugate things or what particibles are or whether that noun or verb is an adjective…I just know if the sentence sounds right, then I’m going with it…LOL

    Great blog, as always…

    Did that sound right? Was my grammar (or lack thereof) sufficiently utilized? Probably not…I’m hopeless…LOL

  6. You know what’s fun? Switching between fiction writing and school writing and back again.

  7. I’ve worked assiduously to find ways to break the rules of grammar and still convey meaning to my reader…

  8. “By the way, my seventh grade teacher was a sadistic, baby-eating, language nazi. His initials were S.S., which kind of says it all.”

    Curious…. I had a teacher in grade school who could have taught the Nazis lessons in sadism and torture. In fact, she probably did.

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