Wallace was fastidious about punctuation (especially apostrophe’s). He was fussy about grammar. He was finicky about spelling. He was choosy about writing style. He was picky about neatness. He was meticulous about fonts. He was particular about handwriting. He insisted on using “arse” in England and “ass” in the United States. He was adamant on using “pernickety” in England and “persnickety” in the United States.
He was a painstaking pernicious pernickety pang in the proverbial. He was a pain in the arse.
I am going to (probably) have a couple of days off from blogging as I’m a bit busy doing something else. Yes! Wouldn’t you like to know? Actually I’ve run out of ideas so I’m having a break.
Once upon a time a coven of witches were having a spelling competition. These weren’t the nice witches that one finds in real life; these were witches one finds in fairy tales; bad ones. For example, Noratia Cacklebother had been involved in the abduction of Hansel and Gretel. On this particular day it was raining and all the witches were sitting in a circle bored out of their tree. Rutterkindle Not(e)worthy suggested they have a spelling competition, and since she was the only one with a dictionary it seemed wise that she be the compere and ask the questions.
There were many interesting words thrown up for consideration. Noratia Cacklebother got stuck on spelling “Handkerchief” because she pronounced it without the “D”. They had gone around the circle three times and everyone had got things right except for Noratia Cacklebother who also misspelled “pharaoh” and “cassowary”. She was embarrassed. She was enraged. She stood. She proclaimed.
“You want to know how to spell?” she screamed. “Then I’ll teach you how to spell.”
By the left eye of the crocodile, With a little nip of parsley and a slither of snake, By the tuatara’s middle eye, With a dash of nutmeg and a wriggling worm half-baked.
All the witches were completely caught off guard.
WHOOSH! waved Noratia Cacklebother with her wand. All were turned into frogs. Permanently.
Good riddance, I say. They were a nasty lot. But be a bit careful if you bump into Noratia Cacklebother. She’s still in a fluster.
There was a time when Philadelphia rather liked her name. It was a bit different and she was the only Philadelphia in her class. Things began to change at high school. She won a book for essay writing and the inside of the cover was inscribed with a misspelling. It said “Congratulations Philadelfia”. Philadelphia was disappointed. It took all the joy out of having won the prize.
“I shall change my name to Phyllis,” declared Phyllis. That worked very well until her Chemistry teacher wrote her name as “Fillus”. Phyllis was starting to get annoyed.
“Use you middle name,” suggested her mother.
And that is why Philadelphia Mary Smith to this day is known simply as Merry.
There’s more than one way to spell Wraymound, said Jihll, and I have named my newborn, Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf – which is pronounced “Ramon”. It will distinguish her from all the other Ramons in the world, and could easily become the feminine form of the boy’s name.
I’m having a difficult time in deciding on a middle name. I was thinking of Lhsadfkjhksadfijhwuefkljhsadf. What do you think? Sound-wise it seems to go well with Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf. Ykjhasdbvsdflafaskjlhbsadf Lhsadfkjhksadfijhwuefkljhsadf Yjhgljhgwqrfkjhgwqhgwer-Blkjxzclhjsfadkjj sounds pretty attractive to me. I’m gravitating towards it.
Now I just have to convince my partner. She wanted to name the baby “Betty”. If she wants a Betty she should make one of her own.
It’s such a sad indictment of our modern, and by modern I mean say roughly in the last hundred and fifty years, education system which, unlike that experienced by great stylists such as John Ruskin, Lytton Strachey and Charles Kingsley, and even Cardinal Newman although he ever so slightly dirtied his copybook by going over to Rome, was the norm and produced writers with flair who knew how to write both with a flourish and with something to say, and I am including Charles Dickens in that list although he was something of a popularist in reality, rather like William Makepeace Thackeray possibly, to say nothing of the women who wrote, such as Elizabeth Gaskell, the Brontes, and George Eliot, although being women they wrote with style but very little depth of thought, has produced few who can compose with skill and in a manner that highlights beautifully the intricacies of the English language not in simple subject-verb-object sentences but writing that is both complex and striking, for unfortunately the contemporary reader appears to have the inability not to comprehend anything longer than three words in a sentence and that neither hand-writen nor corectly speled.