Sunday, November 18, 2007

Overheard, heard, and read

Overheard: We were at Costco the other day and I was walking down the skincare/haircare aisle. I overheard two ladies debating the merits of two different body washes. One of the ladies was telling the other that one of the body washes had "Jehovah oil." She said it over and over again until finally, her friend corrected her and said, "Um, I think it's jojoba oil." It's too bad, because a body wash infused with Jehovah oil was sounding pretty exotic to me.

Heard: Twice a year, all the Mormons in a given area (called a "stake") meet on a Saturday evening for a special edition of church (and sometimes, volunteers from the congregation run a nursery for the little ones so the parents don't have to fork out babysitting money for something as unglamorous and mundane as a church meeting. Which is very considerate, except that last time, we picked up Miriam after the meeting and the people in charge of the nursery had fed the kids Oreos and juice. Do I even need to tell you that men were in charge?).

Anyway, our meeting was tonight. One of the speakers was called up at the last minute to talk about an experience she had recently had. When she introduced herself over the pulpit, she said "Hi, I'm [so-and-so]. I'm pretty new in town. My family and I moved here from Heaven."

What the?!?!? She suddenly had my full attention. But then she backtracked a little bit and said, "I mean, a little piece of Heaven, called Alpine, Utah."

Jeremy wisecracked (any Tucson-lovers who are easily offended should close their eyes), "And now she's in Hell."

Read: I really try to make sure that Miriam has good books to read, even if some duds do slip through the cracks sometimes. These days, we're reading a book of nursery rhymes illustrated by Mary Engelbreit. The pictures are gorgeous, but the text leaves something to be desired. Check out the last page, specifically the last two lines:

It took me a moment to figure out what was wrong, because at first it just sounded awkward. Then I realized that the question mark should go after, you know, the actual question: Are the children in their beds? Because [statement], it's eight o'clock.

And now it bugs me every single time I read it. I feel like I have to conform the inflection of my voice to the punctuation in the book, and I suffer for it. Oh well. I guess we can't expect perfection in professionally published and supposedly edited children's books.

3 comments:

sarah said...

if they were smart they would hire you for their editor :)

Bridget said...

You know what's strange, though? I just checked another source for the rhyme and it has it punctuated more or less the same (incorrect) way. But other sources have it the right way (at least by my definition). Hmm.

Ben said...

Actually, it is correct because "for" in this case is a conjunction like "and" in the middle of the sentence and a sentence cannot begin with a conjunction grammatically speaking. It does sound strange, but it is poetry so it doesn't have to be exactly correct-sounding. Still, it is grammatically correct to put the question mark at the end of the sentence.

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