Herding Sea Monkeys

Offical photo of Fmr. Vice President Dan Quayl...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve decided that the English language is completely nuts.  I totally get that England was invaded by a whole host of different armies from various regions in what we now call Europe.  I also understand that as each group pillaged, looted and behaved badly, they eventually set up laws, became part of the general society etc.  And gradually little bits and pieces of their language and culture were implemented into the broader and greater society.  So obviously spelling had to become the jumbled up mess it is today.

We all poked fun at Dan Quayle every once in a while.  He said some pretty silly things back in the day and I admit finding it hard not to roll my eyes on occasion or wince when it was something particularly painful.  The most embarrassing was his infamous attempt to spell “potato” at a spelling test.  In my opinion, we laughed as hard as we did when we realized that it could have been us that was making the mistake in front of a live audience.  We all have “that word” that gives us a bit of a struggle – what if we were asked to spell it in a situation viewed by many?  We would look like idiots too.   

Every time I think about the brain cells that have been gathered and roped together to use their talents to decipher seemingly mysterious questions like when to use “their” or “there” or “they’re” I wonder if there are better purposes they could have been used for.  Maybe they could be helping me to understand what sea monkeys are.  Or why my industry has become such a complete cluster mess after suffering a complete meltdown a couple of years ago. 

Part of my daily routine with Ella is to go over her weekly spelling words as we walk to the bus stop.  I have to admit there have been several occasions where I laughed to myself as I realized that there truly is no real logic to any of this.  Those that end up being really good with grammar and spelling do so more by “feel” than by an understanding of how to apply a ridiculous set of semi-solid rules and guidelines for how to spell the words we use every day.  I can only imagine what engineers must think of all of this.

In spite of the goofiness of this language and the perils that are involved with everyday phrases, spelling and grammar, I have to admit that I love this language and the millions of ways it can be applied and formed.  Yes, it’s like herding a pack of sea monkeys to use it effectively but you have to admit, it’s fun.

Have a great Monday.


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