Friday, February 10, 2012

Pissed Off, then Pissed On

The other day, someone posted, "I'd rather be pissed off then pissed on."

Someone else pointed out, "This is one of those times when the difference between THEN and THAN is rather important." I hope I don't have to explain it.

Earlier today, I received an invite to a party which was being held to raise money for someone's funeral expenses. The organizer said, "Donations will be excepted."

My reply was, "This is one of those times when the difference between EXCEPTED and ACCEPTED is rather important." Unless, of course, they really did NOT want donations?

In both cases, the person doing the correcting was lambasted as if they had committed an atrocity. But you know what? It's not MY job to have to work to understand you, it's YOUR job to work to be understood.

Think I'm wrong?

How about trying to illegally cross a border into a country whose language you don't speak. You think Zimbabwe soldiers won't shoot you if they can't understand you? You think Mexican cops won't arrest you and put you in a hole if they can't understand you? America is the only place where people seem to think they have to do all the work to understand other people around them. You see it not just in the dearth of foreigners who can't speak English, many of them here illegally, but also in the kids who can't be bothered to use the right word.


No one here would THINK of going to France and expecting the whole French populace to speak English just for them. So why do we have the attitude that here in America, we the communicator can be so lazy that if someone doesn't understand us, it's their problem?

I, and EVERY author, have spent a great deal of time, trying to pick just the right words for our books to convey exactly the right thing at the right pace to make a gripping story. Those who do a good job of it sell well, those who do a poor job of it sell poorly. Well, not counting the marketing machine, but then again, there too is an example of the better writer doing a better job of connecting to what the people want. Crafting ads is an art, you know.

And do you know what it says about you when you can't even take a second to be sure you're not embarrassing yourself with the wrong word? If I have to work to understand you, it says that what you have to say isn't that important. Worse, it says that you don't consider ME important enough to try to communicate. It says you think I'm your slave. Is that really the message you want to give other people? Don't we have enough prospective slave-owners out there?

For those of you who can't tell the difference between there, they're, and their, PLEASE do not try to get a job creating DANGER signs! I don't want to see "brake glass four emergency" any time soon.


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