I Am a Human Dictionary/Thesaurus/Phone Directory

My phone rings several times a day with people seeking information that apparently only I can provide.  I am trying to figure out how to bill for my time, which is extremely valuable.  For example, I just whiled away the afternoon in Nancy’s basement watching an old movie.  Don’t waste my time.  I’m a very busy woman.

My phone just rang and it was our printing company.  The owner said “We’re printing some stuff for your husband and I need to know how to spell catechism.  We can’t find it in the computer.”

I found this extremely odd, as my husband is a veterinarian, not a priest or a religious teacher.  But, being the show-off speller I am, I complied.  I love to spell and I am very good at it.  I would have had a chance at the Scripps/Howard if it had been a big deal in my day.  I like to watch “Akeelah and the Bee” because I can totally outspell Akeelah.  I kick her butt, but she always gets the big trophy in the end.  It’s not fair.

Anyway, I spelled catechism for Kathy several times and she thanked me profusely, then added “we are doing a letterhead for him with that medical emblem, you know the thingy with the snake.”

“Wait a minute,” I said.  “Are you talking about a caduceus?” 

“Yeah, that’s it,” she said nochalantly.  “The snake thing. Caduceus, catechism, whatever!”

Um, hello……..whatever my ass!!!  Two very different things you know.  Catechism is a collection of religious teachings and beliefs and caduceus is the staff with the snake wrapped around it!  A priest uses one and a doctor the other!

I corrected her spelling and then, on a whim, I asked her if my husband had told her to call me.

“Yeah,” she said.  “He didn’t know how to spell it, so he said just call Jen, she’ll know.”

I thanked her nicely and hung up, seething with fury.  This is how my husband regards me.  To him, I am nothing but a repository of hard to spell words and phone numbers.  Remember my trip to Huntsville, when he called me repeatedly to find out Nancy’s phone number?  Why dial 411 when he can dial me for free???  And he freely advertises my services without consulting me.

It’s not just him, though.  I must get ten calls a week from people asking for someone else’s cell phone number or home telephone number.  Ok, fine, so I do remember all those numbers.  I know all my children’s social security numbers too.  I can’t balance my checkbook, but I can remember how much money is in it.  (Besides, if I still have checks, I have money, right?)  But why can’t everyone call 411 instead?  Why  me?

If people have a grammar question, they call me.  I am the grammar police.  In fact, I would like to start an internet petition to have Fergie banned from using the English language, since she misuses it so blatantly in her music.  When Fergie’s latest hit, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” comes on the radio, I patiently instruct my daughter as to its grammatical failings.  There is one line in particular which causes me great distress:  “I miss you like a child misses their blanket….”  WRONG!!!  Child means one child, and it is SINGULAR!!  The correct possessive would then be his, her or its.  Their connotes a group of children missing THEIR blankets!  Or a group of teenagers missing their chance to get into college because of their atrocious grammar.

Ok, fine, I admit it, I am a useful person to know, and you can call me with a question, but I am afraid I am going to have to start charging for my services.  Here is my price list:

Spell a word……$1.00 per syllable

Phone number……..$3.00 and for an additional $2.00, I’ll connect your call

Grammar question…….$5.00 per minute and remember, some of those grammatical rules can be quite lengthy so make sure you have a real need before you call me.

Synonyms……..$1.00 per synonym

I hope this price list will deter some of you from seeking me out in the future.  Bellsouth (the new AT&T!) does not charge you anything to use the yellow pages.  Webster’s dictionary is easily accessible, as is the thesaurus.  Now I ‘m going back to playing Pogo, so leave me alone!! 

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13 Comments

  1. Gina
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    As soon as the phone books start listing cell phone numbers and my husband stops being such a prig (and yes, that IS the word I want to use – Noun 1. prig – a person regarded as arrogant and annoying) about proofing my school stuff, I’ll stop bothering you. :p

  2. Gina
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey! Maybe you should try being more priggish!

  3. Kiki
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I usually only call you for cell phone numbers–and I call my husband at work for all other numbers becasue he is either A. in front of the computer or B. near a phone book. Two things not handy when in the car.

  4. Nancy S
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve probably called you for phone numbers, but you are such a repository of information!

    You and I share the same loathing for those who misspell words, especially on signs that are intended for the public.

    Your vs. you’re; it’s vs. its, etc.

    My late cousin (according to my dad, my first cousin once removed) was an English teacher, and she told me that if you are pluralizing a person’s name, there is no apostrophe because it’s not possessive. I believed her, so it drives me crazy when I see “The Smith’s” to describe the family. It should be “the Smiths”, unless you’re talking about “the Smith’s house.”

    Don’t get me started —— too late!!!!!

  5. Nancy S
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    BTW, how did you know what a “caduceus” is, much less how to spell it?

  6. Mojo
    Posted September 25, 2007 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    To show you how hip I am, when you mentioned Fergie, I thought ex Duchess of York. Weight Watchers. Red head.

    I thought, “Have Fergie banned from using the English language?!”

    Can we do that to British royalty? 🙂

  7. Teensy
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Hey Mojo, me too!!! Ok Jen, let’s work out a deal. Free nursing advice for free spelling/grammar stuff? Even Steven? You know how my Topamax gets me and I can’t spell siht! Ya got to hook a sista up!!
    Ok, watched the big issue in one of the local towns about Homecoming wars between the Juniors and the Seniors on the news. They were interviewing the kids. The grammar was soooo bad!!! “It don’t matter, we’ll still do it.” That was my favorite!!! I thought of you Jen!! Finger nails down a black board!

  8. Posted September 26, 2007 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    [1] Kiki, help the earth by not discarding your old phone books only for them to take up valuable space in a landfill you probably pay taxes to support. When a new book arrives, put the old one in your vehicle. Most of the numbers you want to call are probably still valid in the old book.

    [2] “caduceus” makes me nervous because in a dictionary it’s too close to “cadaver” which I’m too close to becoming.

    [3] The all too frequent mistakes made today by people when using and abusing our language are the ultimate result of too many people having attended government schools which seem to have a goal of dumbing us all down. The dumber society becomes, the easier it becomes for hidden powers to make slaves of us.

    [4] Teensy, make a note that when you post siht you have transposed the two middle letters of the word. Maybe you could remember trud better, huh?

    [5] Now, finally, I will address the Mistress of this blog. I almost said “Madam”, but only politicians would understand what a Madam is. Jen, I too am desperate at times to obtain information that may reside only in your brain; or at least your brain might be more easily accessed with an axe or hatchet. Therefore, be it resolved and approved that I will pay double or even triple the rates you’ve established to provide information. The problem is that you don’t trust this horny old reprobate enough to give me your email address, much less your phone number. That being the case, there’s no way for you to profit from my lack of knowledge.

    SAT. 🙂

  9. Teensy
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Don, it was a joke. Lighten up.

  10. anonymouslurker
    Posted September 26, 2007 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Her grammar sucks, but Fergie loves to show off her mad spelling skills. You should challenge her to a spelling “D to the U to the E to the L”.

  11. Posted September 27, 2007 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Teensy, so was my reply just a joke. I float like a butterfly……….. 🙂

  12. Kiki
    Posted September 27, 2007 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    No way would I put a phone book in my car–too much junk in there already! That’s why I have a cell phone, so I can bother other people for necessaryinfo when not at home!

  13. bubbacus Maximus
    Posted October 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh wise Sagess (Sagette): Go back to college and get a degree in counseling. Then you can bill for your knowledge.


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