At the “professional” social site to which I belong–and I am wondering daily why it considers itself to be such a professional site when a goodly number of its members seem to be feeling their way through life blindfolded, as if down a long, dark tunnel, screaming all the while in order to guide themselves on their journey by their own echoes–I received a note yesterday from another member, let us call her “Big Ethel”, which is not her real name.

I had written to her some weeks ago when a third member, let us call her Madam X, wrote a question in one of our groups that contained within it a misuse of the word “moot”. Not a crime in and of itself, but enough to unleash a number of corrections and complaints in response to the question, rather than any answers to the question itself.

Now I could simply conclude here by saying that, in her misuse of the word, she rendered her whole question moot, but I shall not. Because this is all about Big Ethel.

You see, I had written to Madam X about the moot issue as well, but had written to her early and privately. She responded to me rather dearly, saying that she is new to English and still learning and asking me for the correct usage of the word moot. I sent it back to her, along with my greeting and apologies for having corrected her in the first place, as I now understood her plight.

So when Big Ethel got all loud and bothered (as I had seen her do in other discussion threads) about the mistaken use of moot, I sent her a private message explaining that Madam X is doing her best, etc., etc.

This was the message she responded to, after a long, long pause. I received her answer yesterday. I picture her laboring over every snarky word of her response, which would explain why it took so very long for me to get it.

She wrote: “Well, I’ll say this. I blog in Spanish for a company in China. English is my native language. I am careful about usage, syntax, vocab, and grammar when I write in Spanish. I don’t get a pass from my publisher, I’m afraid. You’re young lady comes across as kind of overblown with the high-fallutin words and phrases. Maybe a focus on writing for the audience would help her progress. No one is ever too good to learn. ;)”

Now, in reading it, I noticed several things all at once: the idiotic little winky face (her trademark, I’m afraid), the fact that she failed to understand that it is quite unfair (the essence of snark) to equate something she is doing for pay with a simple question that a member asked her fellow members in an online “professional” social site group, and the overall feeling of what a complete ass Big Ethel must surely be. And then I saw it.

Perhaps you have seen it yourself, if you are a more careful reader than I.

In her next-to-the-last sentence, the all-mightly Big Ethel wrote “you’re” when she clearly meant “your”. As in “your little friend”…

Imagine my glee.

I, of course, responded to Big Ethel in a characteristic manner, sorry only that this was a private message and not for the consumption of the whole group, whose members must surely agree with me on their Big Ethel fatigue after the many times she has taken us all to task.

But that is not the point. The point it that I see in Big Ethel’s note further proof of God’s existence. Some people look for Him in Big Gestures, but I seek Him in the small things, the little jokes like this that He leaves for me, like breadcrumbs on my life’s path. Just when I am feeling weary that the Big Ethels of the world will crush us all in the end under the weight of their egos and their enormous breasts, God creates the miracle: a sweet little grammatical error just waiting there, like Moses in the reeds.

And so my faith is restored, and so I can continue on my way, rejoicing.

 

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