All families have traditions and in-jokes, and ours is no different. In our family, we love a good discussion about how to (and how not to) use words.
For instance, the boys and I had this conversation this morning on Messenger from opposite hemispheres of the globe. Baz and I are currently on a cruise ship somewhere off the coast of Norway, and Jamie (20) and Braden (19) are grappling with the change to NBN internet services back home.
Amidst the angst over who would be there to deal with the cable technician when he turned up and where we would have to lay the cabling on our country property and how much it would cost to get it from a nearby hill to our place as it is a line of sight service or some such thing… for some light relief we inserted a conversation about punctuation:
Me: I’m loving the possessive apostrophes, Brade ;) Good job
[He had used a possessive apostrophe, very appropriately, in a difficult context.]
Jamie: I love full stops at the end of sentences, MUM!
[Notice that I didn’t use a full stop and Jamie is yelling at me? i.e. ’MUM’.]
Me: No, Jamo… Not on messages
Me: Audience, remember?
Braden: Full stops at the end of messages show rudeness
[Brado gets it!]
Jamie: Lax standards.
[Notice the full stop?]
[Notice that Brado's holding the line about full stops?]
Jamie: Poor education.
Jamie: Trump loves you!
[Apparently Trump made a comment about loving uneducated people. Another favourite topic of ours is politics.]
Me: Indeed, Brado! You get it! It's too strident!!
[Notice the stridency?! My attempt at irony.]
Braden: Well, I was going to try to do a bit of uni work but this has stressed me out of the right mind frame for that
Me: The punctuation?? Deep breaths, Brado
[Just teasing! I knew he was meaning the NBN saga.]
Jamie: Full stops would help with that.
Me: Hahaha a punctuation joke lol
Jamie: Did no one like the Trump reference? 'I love the poorly educated.’
[Jamo must persist with those full stops!]
Braden: I'm not in the mood for jokes
[Brado persists also. Good on him, I say.]
Me: It's okay, Brades. Everything will Work out. They usually do, you know<3 (this heart is a form of 'emotiation')
[Me, trying to make a punctuation joke, which fails.]
Me: Oops, random capital!!!!
[Me experiencing extreme levels of regret, typical of someone with bad-punctuation phobia whenever they make a mistake and can't take it back i.e. the unnecessary capital for ‘Work' in my soothing reassurance to Brado.]
[The typical response made by a fellow bad-punctuationphobe: the whole world tilts off its axis.]
Me: Love you guys. (Stridently!)
So, if you’re still reading at this point, it’s because you either:
Believe we could be the weirdest family to ever walk the face of this earth and you're currently studying us as a sociology experiment, OR
You ‘get’ it
When driving or touring, we have also been known to get quite distracted over signs displaying unusual punctuation or wording (we always feel quite self-satisfied about this).
PHOTO: Is Idle Running a new Olympic sport like Speed Walking?
Or, for instance, when listening to the concerts on this cruise, Baz and I have desperately tried to hold in our giggles over the diction of the clearly Italian-speaking singers while they're singing English lyrics. (Thank goodness for dark theatres!) On a night when they featured songs from the James Bond 007 series, one talented young woman sang Goldfinger as ‘Colfinger’: with the ending sounding like ‘fing’ with an ‘er’ on the end. It's not that we think she is stupid or anything. In fact, we're eminently impressed with and jealous of multilingual people, it's just that such things tickle our fancy! When Barry was at a recent disembarkation presentation, he sent me a message about the Italian cruise officer getting things a little muddled up with double negatives and instructions that were lost in translation, like: 'If you want to wear some clothes, don’t pack them' (obviously) and that we would receive ‘vultures' (vouchers) for filling in our feedback forms. Not sure I’d get one of those through customs, but thanks for the offer!
Don’t get me wrong: we aren't the kind of people who think mistakes are a travesty of justice.... In fact, I quite like the well-placed mistake: breaking the odd stuffy, boring rule. So, please don't stop messaging me, my friends! Please?! I love you more than correct grammar and punctuation and I promise I will not laugh at you.
[Now, allow me to make a few risqué errors of my own to put you at your ease.]
And in return, I don’t mind if you think we are strange :). Because we truly are.
[See? That was an ‘and’ and a 'Because' at the beginning of two sentences and I added an emoticon at the end!! Not very conventional OR correct!].