Posted by: wordofexcellence | April 1, 2011

Who, exactly, has died?

I got an email today from one of my Sisters in Christ telling me about bereavement.  It was worded as follows (names changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty):  “Simple Simon (Rumplestiltskin) passed in East Pretoria.”  It went on, of course, to tell of the arrangements that have been made for a funeral service, and where to contact Simple Simon by telephone or at his address. 

As a normal rule of thumb, such announcements will tell us that “Raggedy Ann’s brother, ‘Andy’” passed.  Here, however, we see that it was apparently Simple Simon, who having changed his name to Rumplestiltskin, has suddenly died. This leaves me not only saddened, but perplexed at the same time.

Naturally, this led me to drop a reply email to my Sister asking if Simple Simon had, indeed, changed his name, and subsequently come to a startling end of life.  I have not yet received a response.  Of course, when I do she’ll call me the Christian equivalent of a “smartass,” but that’s typical of how much of what I have to say is received. 

In truth, I am a skeptic. How so, you ask? Well, it’s easy – I often question the validity or authenticity of something purported to be factual. Also, I maintain (not in every case, mind you) a doubting attitude about the statements of others.  Not always, but often. The problem, as I see it (as only I could see it, apparently) is that people don’t take the time to read what they’ve written, to self-edit. 

Consequently, we see misplaced participles dangling about with nothing better to do than irritate the reader.  We find apostrophes in the oddest of places – as if they’d been transported by the writer’s whimsy.

Yes, I am a stickler for details – insisting on things being done correctly, unyieldingly.  Writing and editing and reading, of course, are what I do. Once you’ve taken the plunge to commit yourself to the written word in whatever fashion you find it, I believe that you have no choice other than to yield to form and actually write as if you know the precepts of the art.

Breaking news here – I just received a new email, telling me that “Simple Simon’s brother has passed away.” This time he has no name.

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