But I love her Dad: A Grammatical Error
For Brian Morton
It was only the issue of a comma, but our fathers wouldn’t have it. My professor wouldn’t have it. Desperate, I emailed Ben Zimmer at the New York Times and he never got back to me. He wouldn’t have it. Clever, he might have written, but where are you going with this? It was a mistake, plain and simple, but one that complicated things. It was a gentle failure, my mistake, but I sympathized with it. It seemed somehow relevant to what was feeling more and more like an unreasonably confused outlook, and I wanted to prove to it its own potential. Pragmatic, I wondered where and how and why would there be some small corner of the world in which this expressive predicament could exist. I wrote a little story for it, but things quickly got out of hand. So, I wore this burden on my back and climbed to the very top of the very highest mountain where I saw Chris Burden crucified to a Volkswagen. Oh Great, I said. Great great great. This is perfect. Look. Chris raised his head. I pulled out a pistol and held it to my little mistake’s depressed forehead. I fired. That’s not interesting, Chris said. He lowered his head. It is irresponsible and unforgivable. Oh, I replied, a little heartbroken, fair enough. I started back down the mountain alone. You’re not leaving that here, he said, struggling against the railroad spikes, I won’t have it.