Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I affect new effects

I was out at the front desk with one of my very favorite people to be out at the front desk with (there are more of them than you might think. It oddly occurs to me that I like most of my co-workers). The patron traffic was on the quiet side, certainly not dead, but the early evening weather was phenomenally nice outside, and so we had comfortably undisturbed spaces for the chatting portion of the evening. At that moment we were talking about my blog.

Sure, yes, I don't market or even bandy my blog about quite like I used to, but I'm still pretty free with it coming up, though usually only with people who read it some anyway. Illustrative points from my blog posts just seem to naturally bubble into my conversations, so much so that sometimes it's all I can do to stop an overwhelming tidal wave of these bubbles. Apparently I was not succeeding in the bubble bursting, anti tidal wave work of that evening because I was telling my desk partner about the post I had been working on. She was expressing a reasonable positivity at receiving insider, advance knowledge on an upcoming post, which was no help to me if I was looking for a way not to talk about my blog, which, frankly, I wasn't. The subject of my post and our discussion was about the slide show, projected on the wall above us to the right, showing kids with little sayings they had written on small chalkboards. I told my co worker roughly the conceit of my post and we fell into an agreeable discussion on the merits, or lack of merits, of this photography show. My colleague brought up a couple of interesting observations, and then, almost in passing, expressed a disdain for people who confuse the use of affect and effect, which, apparently, one of the kids had done. I hadn't noticed.

I thought "Uh oh." And hoped my blog posts weren't riddled with affect, effect errors. Then I affected to have a clear understanding of the proper use of these words. Then I moved the subject along. But I quietly resolved to get clear on my usage of affect and effect. I hardly want to go about needlessly antagonizing the sort of reader who at least affects pleasure when I bring up my blog.

So I have studied the issue carefully. Sadly I am not sure this studying is having quite the effect I hoped it would. Yes, the effect of my study is that I have managed, I believe, to affect my blog so that it remains free of affect/effect errors, but I have mainly done this by constantly double checking multiple guiding sources. I understand that affect is a verb and effect is a noun, but this knowledge has mostly had a negative effect on my once firm understanding of just what a noun or a verb is. I think learning these rules has not so much affected my understanding as much as it has infected it.

I really hope I got that right.

I still remember my friend Grape having written a poem that was all about the confusion concerning the use of lay and lie, and maybe laid and layed and lied, and who knows what all else. It was a long time ago. I am pretty sure the poem was shorter than this little essay, but I don't remember whether it laid out the rules clearly. It was a poem so it could easily have been more about Deeper Things. Nevertheless, multiple decades after reading his poem, I have carried away only that that there is a series of words out there that I might want to be confused about. It's nice to be able to add to the list occasionally.


  1. Wow! I remember that poem existing. I believe it was likely an attempt at humor and very likely under five lines long, but to make sure I'll gave to Google it! Wait...hmmm...all I seem to be getting are Bob Frost and "Of Mice and Men" links. What's wrong with the Internet these days? I will have to research my garage to see if that poem exists and then report back to your readership.

    The confusion or better yet interchangeability of it's and its is prevalent. I was a little stunned to read a warning on my AT&T cellphone that read something like this: "Are you sure you want to delete this conversation and it's content?" I didn't know how to answer because the question is a little screwy when put that way, but I tend to delete anyway.

    Now I must go __________ down and read book from the _______brary.

    1. Um, "sit" and "lay", no, no, "laybrary" can't be right. I really hope you find that poem in the garage. I need some help here!

      Oh, and I am so glad that someone else has noticed that the Internet is completely broken! Completely!


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