Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spelling Gaffes

My family was at my house for Thanksgiving where we all ate an inconceivable amount of food. Eventually, the females—except for my mother—all went off to watch Twilight movies, and since I have no interest in sparkling vampires and sexy men, I sat on my couch and started looking for fun posts for my author page. I was looking for grammar and spelling gaffes or grammar Nazi references and found myself chortling (a word I’ve wanted to use for a long time) at what I was reading. I’m sure my parents found my behavior strange, but I actually am good at grammar and spelling because of them. They were both school teachers who emphasized a good education, and I ended up following in their footsteps and became an English teacher which led to becoming an author and the all-important role as a blogger. It just so happens that my ability to laugh at a good grammar joke is something for which I’m proud (unless I snort or shoot snot out of my nose).

Well, I found this poster about there, their, and they’re that I put up on my author page, and I just couldn’t stop laughing about it. 

It got me thinking about spelling errors from my eighth grade students and things I’ve seen on facebook, and I even did a little research to come up with my newest blog. What you will see are some exceptional spelling gaffes, as well as some occasionally sarcastic comments about them (okay, I admit it—I made sarcastic comments for all of them). If you don’t laugh at some of these, you need to watch fewer Twilightish movies and visit The Red Pen more often (hint, hint).

1.       “In the movie, Harold looses a thumb in a work accident.” (Luckily, it only became loose because losing it completely would have been a tragedy. It’s loses.)
2.       “It was nice to meat you.” (I can’t get the picture out of my head of this person happily slapping his new acquaintance with a pork chop. It’s meet.)
3.       “I’m eating flaming young.” (This sounds cannibalistic, immoral, and dangerous to me. It’s filet mignon.)
4.       “Wow, I’m hot. I can’t go through mini pulse at nineteen, can I?”  (I’ve heard a person can have a mini pulse if they’re nearly dead or suffering from hypothermia—but then the person certainly wouldn’t be hot—so since she’s not old enough to be going through a life change, she should call 911 because she’s nearly dead. It’s menopause.)
5.       “Do you think sex can be good without an organism?” (This is truly a profound question, since an organism is a “contiguous living system” such as an animal might have. I think my wife qualifies as an organism, so the answer for me is no. It’s orgasm.)
6.       “He’s my altar eagle.”  (Our national bird is going to be sacrificed in a religious ceremony? It’s alter ego.)
7.       “I have a torn rotary cup.” (If the Rotary Club was missing a cup and you found it in your shoulder, you would definitely need surgery. It’s rotator cuff.)
8.       “She has old timer’s disease.” (This is very non-specific and prejudicial…getting old isn’t a disease; it’s just an unfortunate experience. It’s Alzheimer’s disease.)
9.       “Your dairy air looks rather attractive from my point of view.” (I think this is supposed to be a weird compliment, but I’ve lived near a dairy farm and dairy air smells like manure. Isn’t that ironic? It’s derriere.)
10.   “They said their was no dairy in the yogurt, but I’m certain their was, and I’m lack toe tolerant.” (Forget about the misspelling of “there”—two times—because we all know 50% of the population can’t spell that word. My sincere question is what does dairy have to do with the person’s tolerance of people with missing toes? It’s lactose intolerant.)
11.   “After all the candy I ate, I think I could die of beeties.” (Beeties isn’t even a word—which makes it very difficult to make even a semi-humorous comment—but regardless, I’m certain candy doesn’t lead to death by beeties. It’s diabetes.)
12.   “Obama is the apidimi of what a black man is suppose to be.” (Okay, it’s supposed to be “supposed to,” and the only reason I’m focusing on that is because “apidimi” is spelled so poorly that I can’t even think of how to spell it. My spell check for that remarkable letter arrangement says “epidemic,” so I’m beginning to think bad spelling is an epidemic. It’s epitome.)
13.   “Ladies, do you prefer natural birth or sea sexion?” (That’s definitely a cool, erotic way to spell “section,” but the real question remains—do you prefer natural birth or an unnatural one at sea? It’s C-section.)
14.   “All I could see was his sallow wet.” (Sallow is an adjective meaning unhealthy yellowish color…so I guess “wet” is a noun in this sentence, so the “wet” is a yucky yellow…like from a Mountain Dew spill? It’s silhouette.)
15.   “The valid victorian at my school was pretty much a pot head.”  (Was this stoner smart, or was he really a suitable Victorian? It’s valedictorian.)
16.   “I’m not Willy Wonka. I don’t sugar code things.” (I have watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because there are no vampires, but apparently Willy was doing a lot of things in secret that I never noticed, including encoding messages in his sweet things. Hmmm. It’s sugar coat.)
17.   “I need a shofar.” (You need a dictionary. It’s chauffeur.)
18.   “Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I can’t have corn roads in my hair, right?” (I think people of all colors should be allowed to have corn roads, wheat streets, and sugar cane lanes. What’s wrong with that? It’s cornrows.)
19.   “Even if I have to wait a year, I’d feel I made it as an aurthur if Oprah read my book.” (Getting Oprah to read your book would definitely be worth waiting a whole year, but what’s an aurthur? It’s author.)
20.   “We just need to teach are children reading, writing, and arithatic.” (And spelling…and the difference between linking verbs and possessive pronouns. It’s our and arithmetic.)
21.   “I’m experienced in all faucets of accounting.” (His favorite is probably the trickle-down effect. It’s facets.)
22.   “I just took it for granite.” (Do people often need granite? Do they sometimes misidentify things as granite? It’s granted.)

If you chortled a couple of times because of my latest blog entry, feel free to join the site, leave a comment, or check out my aurthur page on Facebook I hope you had as much food, family, and fun this Thanksgiving holiday as I did.  :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Faith. Hope. Life.

Faith. Hope. Life.

My friend, David Barns, passed away. From cancer. At the age of thirty. Gary, Dave’s father was my son’s high school basketball coach. I’d coached against him, I’d cheered for him as a parent in the stands, and I had the privilege of coaching with him. I made a list (which I’m prone to do), and Gary ranks third behind my father and my father-in-law as a person I respect most in my life. And his son died of cancer at the age of thirty.

Dave was the JV basketball coach at my son’s high school. He was a Division I college basketball player at the University of Detroit-Mercy—a walk-on that beat the odds. He treated my son like family and me with complete respect. Less than two years ago, as the basketball season wound down, he started getting headaches and light hurt his eyes. He thought it was from an injury he’d sustained while playing basketball, so he went to get it checked, and there was cancer behind his eye—attached to his brain. He went through chemo and radiation because surgery wasn’t a good option, and he fought. When it seemed he’d kicked it, he got married, and then things turned for the worse, and he passed away just a little more than a week ago.

I happen to have gone over the hill. Mathematically, I’ve spent more years on my career than I have off it, and all those “career” years were occupied teaching in a classroom or coaching on the basketball court or softball field (usually both…sometimes all three). I’ve also been a parent nearly half of my life and between my career and my parenting, I’ve spent a lot of time reminding people to do their best. I teased a bright, sweet student of mine a couple of days ago who read 198 words in one minute on a fluency reading. She didn’t reach 200 and she was short of the 219 of the student who read to me the hour before. She said what she’d done was “good enough.” I said it wasn’t. Coming short of your goal or finishing in second place is not good enough. I’ve been preaching that message for years and years.

Dave Barns’s mantra through his whole ordeal was Faith. Hope. Life. He continued without fail and without complaint to say, “If you have faith, and if you have hope, you can have life.” His father said at the funeral that Dave was never satisfied with second best. Unless he was the best, it wasn’t “good enough.” Throughout his losing battle with cancer, Dave reached out to others and gave THEM faith and hope. He lost his own mortal life, but the life he led will live on. Whether it’s by memories, shared experiences, inspiration, or admiration, those that knew David Barns were touched by his life. I was touched by his life.

Dave left behind a loving wife, two fantastic parents, and two adoring sisters, but he also left us with an example of faith, an illustration of hope, and a model of life lived to the fullest. By passing away at thirty years of age, it doesn’t seem like he’d had a “good enough” life, but for a thirty-year-old, his example of never giving in to the belief that second place was good enough will be a lasting reminder and inspiration to me, a writer who will never be satisfied just to be finished. My desire to be exceptional has been ramped up another degree in recognition of a young man who was described by the man I look up to as his idol and best friend. I, personally, am stunned that the faith and hope that I had in his recovery didn’t lead to a spared life. But then I attended the funeral home and funeral and walked away a believer that when one has faith and hope, he gives of his life—to others, which in Dave’s case is a life worthy of admiration and a life of inspiration. No, reading 198 words isn’t “good enough” and what I’m doing with my life and with my writing also isn’t “good enough.” My student has more, and so do I. I’m just sorry I had to lose a friend to relearn a lesson I thought I had always been teaching others. Faith. Hope. Life. That would be something that’s “good enough.” Goodbye, David Allen Barns, but thank you for the example of a life well-lived.