Sunday, February 19, 2012

Barney My Brother

I have to admit, I feel a bit like Barney Fife these days. Barney, from TV's classic sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, was only able to carry one bullet in his pocket "in case of an emergency." Restricted by Sheriff Andy Taylor due to his overzealous ways, Deputy Fife couldn't be trusted to have a loaded gun.

Relating to Fife's situation isn't difficult these days. As a journalism major, it's always been my duty to point out misspellings and grammatical errors in the written work of others. I can be a bit of a snob that way. So, a particular event that happened to me this past week really knocked me down about six pegs.

My eldest daughter's school was having a fundraiser where you send a handwritten Valentine's Day note to your children. My wife suggested that we each do one for our kindergartner. I crafted a beautiful message to my youngest that surely would stir the emotions of anyone who read it.

On Valentine's night, my wife made me aware of just what kind of emotions my note would stir -- ridicule. "Here," she said. "Read the note."


"Just read it."

So, I read it...

"Dear Meghan - Your the coolest kindergartner I know. Have a great Valentine's Day! Love Dad"

Holy crap. I used "your" instead of "you're."

"How embarrassing." My wife has this very natural way of making me feel like a real turd.

"Well, Meghan won't know the difference."

"Yes, but copies of these were posted at the school." Really? She had to tell me that?

At that moment, everything I thought I knew about myself suddenly was in doubt. Now, I was just like all those "other people" I've chastised for being lazy and stupid. "That's what they get. Text-ebonics is ruining this country. Our kids are never going to know how to professionally communicate when they get out into the world and have a real job. They're doomed, doomed I say."

I searched for a response. Should I just return my journalism degree now?

My oldest came into the kitchen where were having this discussion and asked what we were talking about. I showed here the note.

"Oh yeah", she started. "Emily saw that and was making fun of it and telling everyone at school today."


There was only one solution to my dilemma. "Can I still get into the school?" I asked my wife.

"I think so. Why?"

I didn't answer. I was on a mission. The doors were still open. I found the bulletin board where the Valentine's notes were displayed. Luckily, the note I wrote to Meghan was one of the first I saw. I took a pen out and proceeded to correct my mistake. It didn't take long, but I was more than satisfied with the result.

It now read: "Dear Emily: Your the coolest 8th grader I no. Have a grate Valentine's Day. Love, Dad."

Now, give me back my bullet Sheriff Taylor.

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