My husband calls it a sickness, but I like to think of it as a gift.
I am proud to be what Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, refers to as a stickler. Simply put, I am obsessed with spelling and grammar.
But how can being a conscientious user of the English language possibly be equated with having a sickness? Well, the problem may lie in the fact that it’s not so much the keen interest I take in my own use of spelling and punctuation that has my husband rolling his eyes and groaning in embarrassment. It is my obsession with everyone else’s.
Yes, perhaps I take it too far by being personally offended when the deli counter at my local supermarket offers a variety of yummy "sandwhiches" and tasty "peices" of chicken. Or when I’m urged to take any number of hot, fresh main course dishes home for my "diner."
It’s at this point that I’m forced to turn my shopping cart around and head to the less spelling-challenged frozen food section.
I think the problem my husband has is that it is not just that I get upset when I see other people’s flagrant disregard of the rules of spelling or punctuation. It’s the fact that I feel compelled to loudly point out the violation to anyone who will listen. Or at least to anyone within earshot, which usually includes my poor husband.
For me, the most annoying errors are the misuse of apostrophes. Am I taking things too far by refusing to shop in stores that offer "book’s", "cd’s", or "table’s" for sale? Is my husband wrong for not immediately turning the car around so I could let the nice people at the local hardware store, who just happened to still be up on their tall ladders changing their signs, know that while they may have a sale on cedar trees they most assuredly do not have a sale on cedar "tree’s"?
Then there is the fact that I still stubbornly refuse to use a certain cellular phone provider because they improperly used the plural form of the word "it" in the fine print of their television advertisement.
In conclusion, I’d like to send a friendly message to all the Windsor Park businesses I love so much: I’ll be watching closely as you change your signs to reflect new spring and summer inventory. I suspect that this year, however, I’ll be so relieved to finally see spring that I just might forgive the odd misplaced apostrophe.
Heather Tiede is a community correspondent for Windsor Park.