Monday, September 9, 2013

In a word ...

Marlene Terry
It really was just a slip of the tongue the other day when without any effort at all I was able to "slightly" offend a customer at work.
She was taking the time to study all the beautiful, new sewing machines on display and I could tell ... she was in the market.
After a cordial greeting and some chatter I asked for the brand and age of the machine she had now.
"I'm not even sure," she said smiling. "But it was a high school graduation gift from my parents!"
"Oh," I commented without checking with my brain first. "Then it's really old."

Didn't mean for it to sound like I was saying, "Wow. YOU ARE very old then." Just wanted to validate that after years of working on the first sewing machine she ever owned, I knew why she was considering a new one. 
... Sadly the damage had been done. And that "how dare you" and "I'm hurt" expression on her face said it all.

Not that I'm the only one who has ever spent the day with a foot in their mouth. I, myself, have been victim to misunderstood language.
Take for instance the the invitation I received recently.
Printed on bright yellow paper and taped to my front door, the BIG BOLD words announced. "YOUR INVITED TO JOIN A LARGE LADIES SINGING GROUP."
... Didn't pay any attention to the rest of the message at all, the date, time, place and other details. I was in too big of a hurry to remove it from my door.
... And it wasn't because I didn't understand what was meant. A large group of ladies would be meeting together regularly to sing. 
... But what if someone saw it and thought the group was for LARGE ladies only ... and even worse, I was included in that group? ... Oh my!

Punctuation and misspelled words can also be a problem and impossible to retract at times.

... A 50th anniversary announcement, penned by the husband of a couple we'd been friends with for years, ran in our local newspaper. It stated that his "sweetheart of a half century" had been the driving "farce" behind his success in life. ... And a note from my preteen daughter told us that she'd be gone for awhile because she was taking care of our vacationing neighbors' "can" and dog!
... "I'll have to clean up after too," she added. ... Gross!

Now I don't want you to think I'm one of those prudes who just can't deal with oft uttered and written grammatical mistakes. It happens to everyone. And as I've pointed out, I've been a guilty participant myself many times. Probably the reason that when I notice one, I just smile and move on. 

However when my goof-ups appear in print, and I promise, it happens," someone always lets me know. 
... And then I'm not only embarrassed, but wishing I could be "reintarnated" ... which if you didn't know before, means ... being reborn as a hillbilly without any language skills at all!

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