I've been tagged by Execupundit to reveal eight random "things" about myself. This is not one of my favorite exercises, but it's good therapy for breaking out of the shell that blogging can form around someone. . Never use the word "thing." Ever. No matter what you are writing there is always a better word. If you use the word "thing" in a paper, you will not pass this course.
1. As a college freshman I was given placement tests that landed me in an honors English class focused more on critical writing than the basics. A grad assistant conducted the course which was presented on closed circuit television lectures by Mike Shaara, writer in residence at the time. (His son Jeff was later to achieve greater publishing success than he, but his teaching was excellent.) This item alone could take pages of writing, but one fact inspires me to start this list: I don't recall if this rule was from Shaara or the graduate assistant but it is this...
Sorry, but I was bruised for life by this rule. He made such a point of it that I had to begin this list by avoiding that forbidden word. (This is rather like my silly complaint about that the popular TV program called America's Got Talent, instead of the gramatically correct America Has Talent.)
2. I use too many words. (Surprise!) The last time I got tagged was two years ago and I cranked out so many words that I haven't been tagged since. I don't know if it is due to too many details in my writing or too much bullshit. I like to think it is the former, but one never knows...
I am reminded of a friend who was told by an examiner during the defense of a thesis "Roy. your problem is that you are almost never specific. And whenever you are specific, you are almost always wrong."
3. Part of my problem with words is that I am prone to changing my mind about things. (It's great to be an adult, no longer bound by petty rules of the childhood.) There are very few issues about which I am inflexible. Those are issues of morality. But if there is not a moral question at stake, I am mostly laid back. This doesn't mean I won't be sarcastic or critical. There are people and events so breathtakingly stupid that they deserve any treatment they receive. But when it comes to baseline questions of morality, I am content to be marginalized as a minority of one, if necessary, standing firmly on unpopular ground.
4. I may be one of the few people left who attended a one-room public school.
5. I served in the Army Medical Service Corps as a Conscientious Objector. I have been writing about the inevitability of a military draft from the beginning of this blog. I have no need to evangelize anyone. Most young men are better prepared and equipped to be warriors than objectors. But those few who need to know what their options are are not being told and will not be until it is too late.
Never use the word "thing." Ever. No matter what you are writing there is always a better word. If you use the word "thing" in a paper, you will not pass this course.
I have to stop here and go to work. The other three items will have to wait, if I get around to them. I may decide that these five are enough.