[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Wotsit

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 6 Sep 2009 16:25:45 -0700

I'm as hard nosed as whatever animal is it that has a hard nose and inspired the metaphor, (what on earth would that be exactly...hard-headed is easy...some misinterpretation of the rhino perhaps? and why is it that the hardness of a nose has come to be a measure of anything? boxing possibly?)

anyway I tell myself I'm as hard nosed as the next hard nosed person,
(unless, of course, that hard nosed person is shouting on a drill ground, in which case, I cede all claims to proboscis toughness and leave all fi-ing and defying to the Marines).
In the case of English grammar I think I can be quite hard nosed,
but there are times when I wonder even re. this.
My friend dislikes efforts to follow poetry into the border lands
where punctuation-less words form and re-form like bacteria or buffalo.
He finds that without the helpful guidance proffered by wayside marks,
commas, semis, colons and so on,
he gets lost.
I'm not surprised.
At the best of times it's hard to know what anyone means, and without Victor Borge's sound effects...
you remember those skits?
But he goes further; he hates with fervor those who know not the difference between affect and effect,
between it's and its, between further and farther.
Given druthers, he'd probably execute the next person who muffs a comma's placement; solemn duty...desecration of our heritage...hung by the neck, until dead. Some days, in some moods, I find quirks interest me; on others I reach for the duck punt gun, being greatly irked by, for example, one person trying to agree with their nature.
But just when I think I have a right to be right,
and go to climb up high on the old soap box,
I realize I don't have in my possession a hardy dardy hardometer,
one that indicates the exact hardness of noses,
perhaps using the same principle as radar.
So, in a hardscrabble world,
generally I try to go easy.
And fail well.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon
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