The other day I received a holiday card from some friends who live on the other side of the country. It was the type of card that they had put together themselves using an online service. It featured a picture of themselves, their two kids and their dog. I like getting cards like that. It takes time and effort on the part of the sender and since I don’t see these people often, I enjoy the family picture. So it is somewhat inexplicable that I reacted to the card the way I did (I was in the middle of a bad day anyway).
“Look at this,” I said to my wife. “There is something really wrong here.”
I handed the card to her, saying, “I can’t believe Jason and Elizabeth (not their real names), let this go out like this.”
She looked at the card and handed it back to me. “I noticed that too,” she said, “ but Jason and Elizabeth have had so much going on in their lives this past year, I’m surprised they had time to send out cards at all. I mean, it’s only an apostrophe.”
I looked at the card again and there it was, staring me right in the face, ‘Seasons Greetings’, sans apostrophe. Didn’t Jason and Elizabeth know that right there between the ‘n’ and the ‘s’ there was a very important piece of punctuation missing?
“You know,” continued my wife, “this isn’t one of your technical books, it’s just a card. I know that you like to edit restaurant menus when we’re out, but really… you should just be happy they remembered us.”
I conceded that she was right. I was going over the top with my red pen.
Of course, our friends could have avoided the ‘Season’s Greetings’ apostrophe trap by using the apostrophe-less greeting, ‘Merry Christmas’, or the more politically correct greeting, ‘Happy Holidays’. But, perhaps it’s all not that important in the end. Maybe this is the time of year to let the small things pass. Maybe we need to quit nickel-and-diming one another. Forget the apostrophes and semi-colons in our lives (especially the semi-colons). Time to put the red editing pen away and pour a cup of eggnog. Call up that old cuss of an uncle to tell him that you forgive him for refusing to pay for the prop he busted on your outboard back in 1986. Time to turn it down a notch or two…drink a little, but not too much…eat some sweets, but not too many…turn off the television set for a few hours…put the away message up on Lotus Notes. Enjoy the season, it will be over before you know it and we’ll all be freewheeling into 2016, Campaign 2016…hang onto your hat, what a year it’s gonna be…
Thanks to all who have taken time out of their busy schedules to read EEOTPB this past year. I appreciate your support and your (usually) kind (but always welcome) comments. I look forward to reading more of your work in the upcoming year, and I hope you will continue to stop by here as time allows.
I wish the best of health and happiness to all.