Ink Out Loud: The gift that keeps on giving
Ink Out Loud
Tact requires a delicate balance I have not yet mastered.
A few years ago I met an aspiring politician who was ethical, organized and motivated. I was conflicted and sad when I read my invitation to a campaign event.
It started out, “Welcome to the first annual …”
At the risk of insulting this person I picked up the phone and called to explain there is no such thing as “first annual.” I said I was sharing the information because I wished for this person’s success and something as small as that type of error can compromise credibility. The politician promptly changed the wording to “inaugural” and extended much gratitude.
However, last week I heard someone say “irregardless.” Regardless means “without regard,” and the former is not a word. Let’s just say that person was not nearly as receptive to my unsolicited information sharing. I understand it can feel insulting to be corrected. I try to do it gently and quietly, but some gifts are not welcomed. I do it with kind intentions though.
As a word nerd, I am sharing some of my favorite gems. Take them or leave them.
The word “OK” was a joke intended to playfully misspell “All Correct” as “Oll Korrect” by a Boston newspaper editor in 1839.
“OK” became the acronym. This is why I still capitalize both letters.
I do not like to see anything else spelled out in all capitals. It looks like the writer is screaming. When people scream I tend to tone them out. I think readers tend to do the same when they see blazing capitals coupled with excessive exclamation points.
Then there are words that I avoid using altogether — “unique” is so overused it’s no longer, well, unique. “Incredible” actually means “not credible” or “not believable.”
It is true I have busted out my Sharpie and corrected misspellings and grammar issues on bathroom walls accompanied by an explanation of the problem with the text.
I guess it’s my contribution. It’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got. If you give me a math equation to master I will stare blankly at it hoping it will solve itself. My mother the math teacher can certainly attest to this attribute, as she spent countless hours trying to make me understand. “How can you possibly be my child?” she would say in jest (I hope).
I wasn’t great at science either. When I was writing an article about teens with Lyme disease, I had access to one of the most brilliant researchers around. I spent hours with him asking him questions. Learning from him was something akin to getting guitar lessons from Jimi Hendrix.
Aristotle said the only way to avoid criticism is to “say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.”
We all have something to learn from one another. It is a gift. To share our knowledge is a way to care about others. In my very humble opinion, knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. Embrace it.
Mandy Feder is the Managing Editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 530-542-8006.
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