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Mirth, Madness, and Maturity
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It certainly can't be that I've become judgmental. After all, I've been on a spiritual journey straight from the sixties, when we left all classification to the happenstance of hormones and hair. But I can't help noticing that the world has developed scores of irritating quirks which, if I were at all an aggressive person, would really TICK ME OFF! I'm going to list some of them, of course, and if that's one of those things you appreciate less than toenail fungus, it's time to surf the net for Pollyanna. And truly, there are wonderful things to behold. But am I alone? I become mildly apoplectic when:

...motorists, engaging in directional subterfuge, activate the turn signal only after twenty cars planning to go straight (no politics, just Plymouths) line up behind them.

...newspaper columnists sum up the political/personality year in verse that:
            a) doesn't rhyme
            b) doesn't scan
            c) isn't witty, or
            d) all of the above.

Try this on for sighs:
	And now for a word on our mayor (He must have been uncomfortable!)
	He really hasn't been much of a payor
	So now our intended new stadium
	Won't be much more modern than the London Palladium

...sign-makers, advertisers, and what is probably a right wing conspiracy of language subversives create original orthography to show how kool, lite, or EZ a product can be. Actually, all bowdlerization of the English language provokes me, unless it is directly attributable to having been raised by wolves or born abroad. (No connection between the two, with the exception of several countries in Eastern Europe.) "What can I get for yous?," asked our waitress last night. It's true, there was more than one "you" at the table, but she must have been absent the day her class studied plural nouns. I bristle just as arrogantly when a confidence is shared with the grammatically egregious "between you and I," or when people get "disorientated." I'm also not a fan of neologisms like "ath-a-lete" and "Ohiuh (our seventeenth state)," but I'll forego discussion at the risk of appearing pedantic.

...people who do not display a handicapped sticker park in designated handicapped parking. I know this isn't witty or wondrous, but I like to remind people to be aware that disabled people represent a minority to which we all have the potential of belonging. Honoring the needs of others is simply the way a moral society honors itself. And, yes, it's still immoral even if you have a sprained ankle and it really hurts when you walk across the parking lot.

...a prepubescent purveyor of platitudes addresses you as Madam. I have been accused of being gendrocentric, but most forms of address designed for males leave more to the imagination. Time and theory have transformed me from a Miss to a Ms. to a Mrs. who still prefers Ms. If my professional aspirations take a route toward the ribald, we'll have to discuss the appropriateness of the appellation "Madam." For now, I still prefer being addressed as "Marcia," though "Your Excellence" would also suffice.

I looked up "curmudgeon" in the dictionary. As I suspected, it's a noun specific to men, so I couldn't possibly be one. And by the way, don't you just hate people who begin speaking with a dictionary definition? "Webster defines 'plumbago' as 'any of a genus of showy tropical plants.' " What a dull opening for the Annual Horticultural Club Lecture. To me, plumbago sounds like a fruit with a backache. I wonder if Noah would be so cavalierly quoted if his last name had been Shleppenzacher.

As I mentioned above, I am neither intolerant nor judgmental. Isn't it strange, then, that this list could continue ad infinitum? How people have changed since the years when I was so mellow!


Written by Marcia Brown Rubinstien
January 26, 1999
This commentary was also
published in /MSGs from the 40's
March, 1999

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