Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Must Be Genetic

My brother told me a story today that had me laughing hysterically. See, he's a manager now, and he's currently going through some of the stuff that I went through. Hopefully he'll be smarter about it than I was and get the hell out before his blood pressure makes his head explode. But I digress...

He works in an optical lab, which means that his co-workers work with lenses, frames, temples (strangely called "arms" by those not in the biz), and other eyeglass terminology that won't mean squat to the average reader. One of his many, many duties is quality control. He was inspecting one job recently, and attached to the job was a hand-written note from one of his co-workers. (I'm paraphrasing the note, but using quotes anyway. Sue me.) The note said: "Thair lense is too beg." Now, you may be thinking that this is some sort of optical shorthand or lingo of some type. Nope. This is idiot longhand. Those who can speak and read kindergarten-level English would have grabbed their favorite crayon and scribbled out "Their lens is too big." Because in kindergarten we still have trouble with sentence structure, and really can't decide between "their lenses are" and "the lens is". But hey, what do you want from a five year old?

Unfortunately, the person in question was just a wee bit older than I am. That's a hell of a long way from five. After a certain age, I think it should be a law that if you can't spell a three-letter word, you should be mulched. At least then you'd be doing some good for future generations.

He offered to bring in one of several dictionaries he has so this individual could perhaps learn to spell. Not to memorize it, of course, but at the very least to learn how to spell "lens". After all, it is one of the nouns encountered most frequently in this person's day. There should be at least a passing familiarity with one of the tame four-letter words.

He needed to laugh just as much as he needed to vent. I know exactly how he feels. When you get to the point in your job where you have the overpowering urge to pick people up and shake them because of their relentless stupidity, then it's time to go. If you stay, you'll either end up with high blood pressure, an ulcer, both (or worse), or actually caving in and tossing stupid people around like hay bales. (That's worse, because you just get tired that way.)

Maybe he'll kick back with me and we can watch the English language continue to languish and die. We're from a generation that didn't have a "no child left behind" asinine policy, and we can spell because of it. If you were stupid, you had to repeat a grade. You failed. You were mocked. If you continued to be stupid, you failed again. Or maybe, just maybe, if you failed that gave you a reason to actually try harder and succeed! Revelation! Education was more important than your flippin' self-esteem.

Bah. I'm off to listen to more radio shows so I can hear the phrase "to whom" used correctly. I'm 40 years too late, or 100 years too early.

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