Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holidays and prepositions

Thanksgiving is day after tomorrow, and Christmas is five weeks from today. Part of me says, "Yes! Woo-hoo! My favorite time of year!" and another part of me says, "I'll be glad when it's over." I do enjoy getting together with our offspring and their families, I enjoy the food, I enjoy the carols (real ones, about the birth of Christ). But I don't enjoy all the accompanying hustle-bustle and commercialization and the rush in some quarters to be first, biggest, or best. For example, we saw our first Christmas-decorated house this year shortly after Halloween. That's one set of Joneses we will not be keeping up with. Make that one set of Joneses with whom we will not be keeping up. No, make that one set of Joneses up with whom we will not be keeping.

Since Dave Barry stopped writing columns, where is Mr. Language Person when you need him? Someone once took Winston Churchill to task for ending a sentence with a preposition, and he replied, "That is the sort of criticism up with which I will not put." Someone else said that anybody who thinks a preposition is a word you're not supposed to end a sentence with doesn't know what prepositions are for or what language is all about [emphasis mine]. Which reminds me of an old joke: A salesman knocks on a door and a little boy opens it. The salesman says, "Son, may I speak to your mother?" and the little boy replies, "She ain't at home." Shocked, the salesman says, "Son, where's your grammar?" and the little boy replies, "She's upstairs takin' a bath."

Getting back to the subject of the holiday season, I'm no Scrooge. But in recent years I have discerned that I go through a "Bah, humbug" phase before really getting into the spirit of the season. So I guess it has started--the "Bah, humbug" part, I mean.

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