[The following text exchange took place between a female business executive named Roxanne and her boyfriend of four years, Virgil, a high school English teacher.]
Virgil: Good evening, Roxanne. Thank you for your text. By the way, “gotta” is not proper English. I believe you meant to say, “I must” or “I have to.” What’s up?
Roxanne: We need 2 talk.
Virgil: You errantly used the digit “2” as in one more than one. So, you’ve lost me. We need “one plus one talk?” That makes no sense. Please clarify.
Roxanne: Oh, for God’s sake, Virgil. 2 is short for “to.” We need TO talk. I cant wait any longer.
Virgil: Sorry, still not clear on what you’re trying to convey – unless you mean “no, I can’t” in which case, don’t forget the apostrophe since it’s a contraction.
Roxanne: Geez. Okay. Got it.
Virgil: Who’s got what? “Got it” is missing a subject. Who has it? A policeman? The Queen of England? My schnauzer? My brain buzzes with possibilities. Could you clarify who it is that has it and what specifically does he or she have?
Roxanne: Jesus, Virgil. I’m talking about US. We need to talk about US.
Virgil: Capitalizing the letters US only makes sense if you’re referring to our country. But even then, technically you should put periods after the letters since it’s an abbreviation for United States.
Roxanne: Virgil, focus. For the millionth time, I don’t need another syntax lesson.
Virgil: I believe you mean “another grammar” lesson. Syntax is about word order. Your mistake was –
Roxanne: My MISTAKE was taking four freakin’ years to tell you what I should have told you four years ago. It’s over.
Virgil: That was a poorly constructed sentence, Roxanne. You used the phrase “four years” twice when you only needed to use it once. You should try to be more word-efficient.
Roxanne: Okay, Virgil. How’s this for word efficient? GOOD BYE!!!!
Virgil: Sorry to nitpick but ”Goodbye“ is one word. And one exclamation point is sufficient to communicate emphasis of thought.
Roxanne: Are you listening, Virgil? I want out. For four years, you’ve driven me crazy with your constant grammatical badgering any time I type something incorrect. Who are you, the head of the Grammar Gestapo?
Roxanne: What the F are you talking about now?
Virgil: You wrote “type something incorrect.” You meant incorrectly. It’s an adverb describing the action of typing. But your syntax was perfect.
Roxanne: Oh, right. Well, I’m so glad you pointed that out. So, tell me. What’s the grammatical error in this next sentence? I can’t stand you any Goddam more. I wish you would go to hell, you annoying little dweeb.
Virgil: Since you asked, don’t put a word inside the middle of “anymore.” And “Hell” should be capitalized since you’re referring to a specific place. Had you meant it like “that job was hell”, then lower case would be appropriate. It’s a common mistake Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Roxanne: Trust me, I won’t, oh savior of syntax. One more thing. I’ve been sleeping with your best friend, Todd. For the past year. How do you like them apples?
Virgil: I believe you meant “those apples.”
Roxanne: Whatever, dude. Proper word usage is what really matters here. Not the fact that you’ve been ignoring me for the past 3 years, you insensitive, heartless write supremacist.
Virgil: The sentence beginning with “not the fact that you’ve been ignoring me” is a subordinate clause and therefore must be connected to a main clause. We’ve gone over this many times.
Roxanne: So that’s your takeaway here, Captain Conjunctive. That it’s a subordinate clause?
Virgil: You just did it again. Are you teasing me? You’re so adorable when you tease.
Roxanne: For the love of God, Virgil, how can you be so dense? I can’t bare your obtuseness any longer.
Virgil: I believe you meant you can’t bear it any longer – unless you’re naked. Are you naked?
Roxanne: Wow, how’d you guess? Your sexy grammer disciplining has got me all hot and bothered. You’re an idiot, Virgil.
Virgil: The word is spelled g-r-a-m-m-a-r, not e-r.
Roxanne: I need to go to the E-R. I’m so done.
Virgil: Are you okay? Do you need me to take you to the E.R.?
Roxanne: OMG! Sure, take me to the E-R. Right after you GO TO hELL!! Yeah, I know I’m supposed to capitalize the H. I wrote it that way just to piss you off. I’m leaving you. I can’t stand the sight of you – OR your Helvetica font. And oh by the way, can you spot the mistake in this sentence? i never wnt 2 sea yr face agin 4 the wrest of my lyfe!!!!!!#$&@!
Virgil: Well, to be honest, you made so many mistakes, I don’t know where to begin.
Roxanne: No, Virgil. Actually, I made just one mistake – signing up for your stupid Grammar for Adults class four years ago. I H8 U. U R IMPOSSIBLE!!!!
Virgil: Wait a minute, Roxanne. Your abominable abbreviations aside, are you saying you’re breaking up with me?
Roxanne: Wow! How’d you figure it out so quick, Sherlock?
Virgil: Quickly. The word you were looking for is quickly. And who’s this Sherlock person?
Roxanne: You really don’t get out much, do you? Bye, Virgil.
Virgil: Where are you going? I haven’t even had a chance to correct your improper use of the passive voice.
Roxanne: Would love to stick around for that lecture, but I’ve got to return to the earth, or is it the Earth? Doesn’t matter.
Virgil: Since you asked, it’s lower case. You only capitalize it when omitting the word “the” before it, as in “Earth is the third planet from the sun.”
Roxanne: Goodbye, Virgil.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
Virgil: Technically, sir, your closing tagline makes no sense. If your view is from the bleachers, you would not be remotely near a base in a baseball diamond such that you could possibly be close enough to be considered “off” it. Please rework your closing as per my guidelines.
Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2017