Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ergo, My Ego

It started with Facebook, this silly lesson in life. "How Good Is Your Grammar?" I consider myself pretty meticulous when it comes to wordsmithing. wordsmithery? Language Arts. So, I took the quiz for a little self-aggrandizement.

"There, they're and their. Fewer vs. less. Parts of speech. Pluperfect tense." yada. yada. yada. Calculating your score...

"13 out of 15!"

13 out of 15? 13 out of 15? Oh, HECK NO! I'm the one who secretly corrects your grammar as you chat happily about your two-year-old's potty training success. I'm the one who even searches for the correct tense and meaning when I pray -- silently. 13 out of 15? Oh, there must me some terrible mistake. I'll simply retake it.

Calculating your score...

"13 out of 15," the ethereal proctor announced, once again. I vowed never to rest until this injustice had been undone.

Days later a dear friend, a most invaluable comrade brought justice straight to my door -- or, at least, to the other end of the phone. He had bedeviled by the same troublesome test, and the same vile 13 out of 15. Ah, sweet relief! Commiseration!

"You know P*t S****ds got a 15."

WHAT?! My Snuggie, my soothing balm of Gilead had just casually informed me, the guy who pushes the "pull" door, the guy who goes to the library looking for Facebook, the guy who could fail a blood test -- has just smoked us on a grammar quiz! Whatever whiff of satisfaction I experienced was hopelessly lost in the gale of humiliation and abject failure.

The sad part of all this -- and this is where the lesson comes in: I'm not kidding. Well, maybe a little, but not much.

When my initial score was revealed, I was perplexed. "I expected so much more of myself." The reality is: It's a quiz. On Facebook. I really need to get over myself.

When the quiz did not allow you to review your answers or even determine which were incorrect, I was annoyed. Because I wanted to study up for the next one? No. Truthfully, because I wanted to prove the test faulty. In other words, "No way I got those wrong!" Am I really that egotistical?

I didn't just retake the test. I re-re-retook the test. Yes, I took that stupid quiz four times. Each time with the same outcome. 13 out of 15. Exactly how much time did I spend? I'm not sure, but I do know I'm not getting it back, and it wasn't spent wisely.

And days later, when I had ceased to think about my "dearth of intellect." The minute my friend broached the topic and I was reminded of the whole sordid affair? I found relief in knowing he -- a man of great intellect -- shared my less than perfect score. Why? If I'm going to be labeled "stupid," I want some company. What is that all about? If my friend had gotten a perfect score, would I have even been able to laugh about my shortcomings?

And lastly, and probably most ashamedly, my less than complimentary judgment of our mutual acquaintance, Mr. 15-out-of-15. My friend actually questioned him with regard to his grammatical prowess. His answer? "Just because I can't talk doesn't mean I can't write." Classic! This guy is fully aware of others' opinion of him. And yet, it doesn't bother him one bit.

I wish I could say the same.
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