I know that someday you'll find better things.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Subliminal Grammar

Last week’s Michael’s circular brought out my misty-wistfulness again. I’ve been avoiding it for months, because we don’t have the money to support all the incredible projects that would come from a visit to that art material superstore.

T-shirts were going to be on sale 5 for $10. There was a time when I would have dropped everything to go scoop up that bargain, and that time was several years ago in the middle of August.

We’d just received our annual spirit T-shirts to kick off the school year, and that year’s version was a series of unfortunate attributes.

It was itchy. It was not traditional cotton. Instead, the synthetic material was a cross between spandex and burlap that seemed better suited for space exploration, ponchos, or sleeping bags.

It was white. I spilled coffee on mine the very first time I tried it on. I wasn’t even planning to wear the thing for more than a minute or two and KABLAM! Immediate and potentially permanent damage.

It was small—not just on me but on everyone. It appeared that spacesuit manufacturers used a different sizing chart than we cotton earthlings use. Beyond the few who’d made fitness their focus over the summer, the rest of our clan looked like ten pounds of sugar in a five-pound sack.

The worst part, though, was the graphic. Wordles were all the rage, but I would not go so far as to say they were in fashion. If you ask me, they should be left out of fashion. For eternity.
And here is why:

When you are wearing a shirt with a cloud of words, folks get curious. If the words are tiny, the folks get close—uncomfortably close—to read the message. If the folks are tall, they must crouch. If they are small, they must stand tip-toed and crane their necks to better read the tiny words stretching across your boobs.


Around that time, the Michael’s circular advertised their T-shirt sale, and I knew what I could do. I went to the store intending to purchase five navy blue solid-color roomy cotton tees, but I left with more than I’d planned, because the iron-on letters were on sale, too.


I wasn’t certain what I’d write, but I trusted that a big idea would arrive. That’s how fate works.

Sure enough, I awoke the next morning with a plan.

Visualize with me—

A teacher spends the majority of her time facing the class, but there are moments when she must turn her back to them to write on the board. Why pause the learning while the message is being recorded when you could sneak in a grammar reminder instead?!  Think of the benefits! It could cut down on the nagging. It could educate the masses in the halls during passing periods. Heck, I could even gently and subtly remind coworkers while I was at the coffee machine in the faculty room or while checking my mail in the office corridor.

I made several shirts with messages on the backs, and they were each magnificent in their own ways. Russ was less excited, but even he had the good sense to know it would be better than the wordle, which he realized after I reminded him seven or eight times. (Sometimes I wonder if what he really realized was that I was not going to let go of this issue until he cooperated and showed his support.)

Now that I’m not teaching, I don’t have the same opportunities I once had to show my enthusiasm toward grammar in an only semi-nerdy way. And now that Russ is not teaching English and is teaching Social Studies, he says he doesn’t have those opportunities either. Which I think is a load of horse poo, but whatever. Besides, he’s on this high fashion kick right now with dress shirts and ties every day, so--

Oh my gosh. I just realized—is this so he doesn’t have to wear my super-special subliminal grammar shirts? The nerve!

Well, the joke’s on him, because I already have a new purpose for those shirts, anyway. I’ve been wearing them to the gym. The treadmills are arranged in a long row directly in front of the elliptical machines. I select a vacant treadmill in front of an occupied elliptical and then, the magic happens.

Instant captive audience.

They may think I’m the weirdo in that moment, but hopefully the next time they sit down to compose an email, my reminders will resurface.

Possessive its never splits!

Possessive your, only four!

When in spelling doubt, find another way out.

1 comment:

  1. I disagree with your statement that you're not teaching... I learn from you every day.

    I like your grammar shirts idea-I think those need some national attention to help with the world's idiots.