Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Hands, My Tools

All my life I have enjoyed extraordinary health.  Sure, I get the occasional sinus infection, cold, virus, etc.  but I have arrived at the age of 64 without having to battle cancer, heart disease, or any of the other serious diseases so many people battle, even at half my age.  I have two friends with autoimmune diseases, one of my brothers had lung cancer, another died of a stroke.

The bane of my existence is simple repetitive stress injuries.  You name it; I've got it.  Plantar fasciitis, check.  Bursitis, check.  Carpal tunnel, check. Cervical stenosis, check.  Now I can add to the list Cubital tunnel compression.  Most people have never heard of it but if you think of hitting your "funny bone" really hard, that's the nerve I'm talking about.  The nerve that sings when you strike your elbow extends both up and down the arm.  In my case, it has made it difficult for me to do simple things: type, turn keys and faucets, open jars, that kind of thing.  It also means I can't do pottery, which bums me out.

My options are limited.  I can have a painful surgery with an uncertain outcome or I suck it up.  So far with all my minor afflictions I have sucked up the alternatives: limiting myself, doing things differently, avoiding triggers, special shoes, exercises, etc.  But I just can't do without my right hand. I may have to have this surgery and rely on my extraordinary health to get me through to normal function again. For now I'm glad to have had a steroid shot right into the nerve - yes, it was as much fun as it sounds - but it has helped.  I know from past experience in other parts of my body that this relief won't last long, but I'll take it - for now.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Is Grammar Obsolete?

I belong to several writers' groups. In nearly all of them a debate simmers below the surface: Does grammar matter?
The Pros' argument goes along these lines:  Of course it matters.  It's part of the craft.  Punctuation changes the meaning of sentences.  Poor spelling and improper word use stops a reader from becoming engrossed in the story.
The Cons' argument follows this tact: It doesn't matter if you use the wrong to or your.  The reader will figure it out.  Grammar Nazis are just snobby.  Grammer is obsolete.  I write and speak just fine, thank you very much.
So I culled some examples of error from a few different sources, including, but not limited to some of these writing groups.  This is just a casual culling from one afternoon.  I am not attributing anything so as not to embarrass and have changed any identifying words for the same reason.  I have left the errors exactly as they appeared.
  • They were to philosophy what an American Team were to ...
  • Your allowed
  • Don't move to quick
  • The human brian
  • Math lab busted
  • It has always bothered me the idea ...
  • If a man needs rewarded ...
  • Kindness is it's own reward
  • For each and every authors ...
  • It is a fantastic story how a woman falls in love when she less expect and he can’t let his ex-girlfriend go, they try to resist to find and accept that they are made for each other. 
  • There is a mystery involving them, they don’t understand why they keep running into each other, but they are determined to find out. 
  • Our black hairs blues eyes grandbaby is here.
Ok, so by the examples above, not unusual, or chosen for being especially bad, what do you think?  I think we need to pay a little more attention to communicating what we actually mean.