Here in VA we are about to move into the twenty-first century. (Notice I wrote that number. I can still hear Dr. Holt, my professor of early modern European history, “no, no, no. it’s not the 16th century, it’s the sixteenth century.”)
I got off the topic I began with, but I forgot what it was anyway, probably the weather or something else equally banal.
Professor Holt wasn’t the only teacher who corrected me, often more than once. Dr Ridley screamed at me, “No, no, no, it’s not a chart, it’s a table.” And Dr. Shryock insisted we say, “owing to” not “due to.” At work, my use of “in spite of” was often corrected to read “despite,” and “owing to” changed to “due to.” There were many other corrections along the way.
If you want to know how your taxes are spent, it is like this….59 layers of supervisors in government and managers pretending they have something to do by changing the wording in every document and letter. The worst occasion was the time the new female “second in command” of our government agency insisted it was “gender,” not “sex.” I, along with all my colleagues, was instructed to begin using gender in all our reports. I took a 60 page report, ready for publication, and changed every statistic shown by sex, and as well as tables, graphs and text to read “gender.” A year later, we went back to using the word “sex” so all reports in the past 10 years from my former agency show “sex.”
These two concepts, sex and gender, often confused, are entirely different. Sex is a biological fact. Gender is a cultural or sociological fact. To keep them straight think pink. Gender = pink. Or not. Also, if you are referring to sex, use females not girls to refer to the “distaff” side.
Females = all ages 0-100+. Girls is a lay term that often applied to younger girls, unless you came of age before 1960, in which case you can have a night out with the girls. A night out with the females sounds ridiculous, and a night out with the boys would probably get you into trouble with your parents if you were a female. I apologize for getting off on a tangent, but wordsmithing is s-o-o-o-o-o interesting. I concluded after years of torment that no one has a complete handle on the subject, especially the people who edit the work of others.
I have edited many newsletters, reports, papers, etc. and don’t know the answers, but I don’t write 16th century anymore. Now if I can just keep it straight. The century in question is actually 1501 CE to 1600 CE! Centuries begin with a 1.
David’s heart doctor called him at home yesterday to let him know he was in tip-top condition. He has no problems at all. And his BP was 120/80 at yesterday’s reading. She freaked on Monday because it was 140/80. David was quite touched by the personal call from a busy doctor. He hated her Monday, and now he loves her.
David told me earlier this morning he was going to mow the yard. A while later, I went looking for him in the yard (which is very small) and he was nowhere to be found. So I came in the house and sat down at the computer. He called, and asked me what kind of mozzarella cheese I wanted.
Where are you? I asked. I looked for you in the yard.
I can’t mow the yard this early. I’m not loose enough, says he.
I think he walked outside, took one look at the yard and got in his car and drove to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for a pizza. I tell him I am going to get a microchip planted in his heinie,
“Just like the dogs. Then if you get lost, we can find you.”
Last night, when I asked him to help me remember to leave the bedroom doors open to improve air circulation, he told me, “I’m 83 and I don’t care.”