GOD save the pig White did; or was it just a pigment of his imagination?
“Home free, scot free, finally!” I thought had eluded them, the grammar police, but I wasn’t quite sure. I thought I lost them at the last junction . They been there lurking, in wait. I should have known. It seemed that there was a deathly stillness in the air, something kind of eery, but not. I’d have sworn that the Mad Hatter or one of those Adventures of Alice in Wonderland sort of characters was not far off. Frozen, I was as though I had a target smack dab on between my shoulders. I froze all of the sudden like a deer in headlights. Either the grammar police simply missed me or he had bigger fish to fry I dodged a major bullet, no a cannon ball there. But, it still didn’t deflect a bit from the task, the task of orderly, functional composition. All one could hear was the incessant tap-tap-tapping of Elwyn’s machine and Strunk’s persistent pouring, scribbling down and the erasure of grammar notes that would be checked once, pored over twice by Strunk again and again and one day bless, hopefully, the desk or binder of boys and girls and Moms and Dads. Elwyn and Strunk , not unlike the masked industrialists and philanthropists in their mysterious methods of battling the most fiendish sorts. These are some who are always not far and always prepared to fight for On the Side Justice for All. I don’t mean to equate them with the masked marauders or any of the Fantastic Four. This duo surely strikes fiercely and quickly, but targets a different sense. It targets academia and even common sense. Sure, it might mean that teachers have to go back and do a little studying of their own, but I thought that that was the job of educators. Perhaps, the education system has to tighten a few of its own screws also, but that is fodder for a different blog. Unfortunately, these grammar police are like mites they hide behind the least noticeable of places, just waiting to pounce on the writer’s error, the writer’s grammatical first, maybe second, mistake. At times, you will find them stashed behind, what you thought, were harmless little errors and grammatical notes; like the, semi colon: Look twice before you leap, or leap before you look? No, just kidding. Leaping first could be the death of us all. Strunk and White did us all a huge service by tying together, by clarifying the the’s, which’s, who’, whose and revising all the rest when nobody had the patience. That is the reason, or at least one of the reasons, that I picked up one of my earlier copies of the Authors’ “little book.” Well, those weren’t the only reasons. The primary reason was that I wanted to worm my way into an Oxford or a Cambridge. Occasionally, Mr. Strunk would break from his deleterious tapping to either critique himself or his own manual. No, not just occasionally since revision was the primary main premise of The Elements of Style. This compendium, a mere notebook, however, could not be masked by grammatical blunders, errors in spelling or even inappropriate word usage. There was no margin for error. Well, perhaps a small bit, but between you, me, Miss Charlotte and the piglet. “The little black book,” get it before the Grammar Police get you.