Illegal Use of the Comma
Folks say teachers don’t get paid enough and if you are talking about dollars and cents, then that would be an accurate statement. However, if you include the fringe benefits, then the salary is enough to last a lifetime.
An interesting thing happened about six years after I retired, having spent that time period buried alive on the top of my mountain. I was introduced to social media, which soon opened up a world of both new and old friends that I never knew existed.
I mean, intellectually, I recognized that there were all these good people out there with whom I had once had a very close working/living/growing relationship, but who on Earth remembers an old middle school language arts teacher with anything other than horror, if they remember him/her at all?
And then I wrote a somewhat controversial piece for my hobby at Around the Foghorn, and some less-than-positive criticism was levied at me for-of all reasons-illegal use of the comma. The unmitigated gall of some people. One critic went on to imply that if I were incapable of using commas correctly, then how could I have taught language arts effectively? Actually, there were, two individuals, who found, my use, of commas, offensive, and, this is, what their, criticism, looked like.
I thought it was kind of clever and told them both that I appreciated their concern for the English language, and that I would be not only expecting them to continue to monitor my writing for grammar and usage, but spelling as well. Not only that, but as any good instructor should expect, I asked that they keep me informed of my progress.
Fighting negativity with humor is one method of dealing with trolls. The other is to fight them with pathos. Because the first critic had begun his criticism by acknowledging that he was “off-topic” in addressing my language usage, I replied that if we were venturing off-topic for just a moment, then maybe I would do likewise.
I then informed him that if I were off my game, in terms of language usage, it was because I had just laid my beloved mother Pauline to rest, and went on about the four components to the memorial process by which my family chose to show our respects to our matriarch.
Kill them with kindness, say I.
But I ramble.
The piece entitled “San Francisco Giants not the losers in the Pablo Sandoval fiasco,” currently sitting at 59 comments, created a certain amount of anxiety in my life, as if that takes any great doing, and I subsequently posted a blurb on Face/Book. I whined a little about the acidic response I had encountered on ATF, including the snippet about being a lousy language arts teacher, and you would have thought I had suggested that Buster Posey was a wimp and no longer my favorite player.
Folks started making remarks in the comments section beneath my post, that included a great many back-payments in salary that was once less than adequate, but has now exceeded my greatest expectations. You were eloquent, supportive, and most importantly to me, loving. I want to list each and every one of your comments but that would make me look as though I had a fat head, and that is the last thing I desire.
Every time Annie thinks I am getting a fat head, she makes me take out the garbage and empty the compost. At the rate you beautiful friends of mine were leaving words of indignation, wrath and love-all in the same breath-I will be taking out the garbage for the rest of my life.
And doing doodie duty for the new puppy. Oh boy.