Friday, June 05, 2009

The biggest dork in history

I recently received a comment from my sister on my Post Scriptum 1/16/09 post:

"You realize that this post makes you . . . the biggest dork in history."

Yes, I know. Sad but true. I've just accepted it, or as Lynne Truss says, I've "embraced my inner stickler." And may I say, Well done on the ellipsis! I'm so proud.

Then my sister went on to say that her grammar check corrects her if she types her ellipses wrong. I have mine turned off so I didn't know that, but now that I do it just makes me even more fired up about all this!! Seriously folks, there's just no excuse!

But I think enough has been said about the ellipsis. I may be a stickler, but it is, after all, just a punctuation mark. What does it matter that people are out there typing it incorrectly on purpose just to piss me off? I can get over it. They're the dimwits, after all.

Apparently (since I'm unable to move on) it's not just a punctuation mark. Is it the Irish or the German in me that makes me fixate and fester about something as silly as punctuation?* I guess "Gambler Mom" spun the roulette wheel and landed on Grammar Nazi (I wonder, did my Gambler Parents consider that good or bad?). Because it's certainly not my fault that I'm obsessed with punctuation.

*You've just got to read "My hair and gambling" - priceless. And so true!

Well, wait. Maybe I'm not as nuts as you think. Because it's not the punctuation, but the person being deliberately (grammatically) WRONG. Typing an ellipsis wrong on purpose. Why? And not just regarding the ellipsis, but also the dietitian vs dietician debate. If a person knows how to spell it correctly, but chooses not to, doesn't that make them stupid? I have no tolerance for stupidity.

Why on earth would a person choose to be stupid? My mind is boggled. As an apology for the continued obsession I can only say: "Thanks, Mom."

There really isn't a debate about the correct spelling of a specialist in dietetics. In fact, I'll go ahead and say that I mis-spoke when I said debate; it's dietitian. End of story.

Except of course with me, it's never the end of the story. Here goes:

We recently hired a specialist in dietetics. I pre-wrote "Dietician" (note the C) on a post-it note, and walked over to her to ask the correct spelling of her name so I could create a badge for her. She saw my post-it and said, "Actually, that's not the way you spell it." And I said:

"Excuse me?"

Okay, technically I don't think I said that out loud, but I may have. Then I (politely) asked her to enlighten me. I don't remember exactly what she said, but it is summed up by this line from a Wikipedia article: "A dietitian (also 'dietician', though 'dietitian' is used consistently by professionals) is an expert in food and nutrition."

"Dietician" with a C, I was given to understand, is not just an alternate spelling, but is being phased out. Outdated. Antiquated. The old way. "Dietitian" with a T is the correct spelling.

Okay, well. That's fine with me. "Learn something new every day," right? I stand corrected.

But here's the butt-clencher: the decision has been made at work that even though it is an undisputed fact that dietitian with a T is correct, the company is going to spell it dietician with a C because the correct way--ahem--"looks funny." They're worried that patients will think we're spelling it wrong. For an infrequent, complicated word, maybe it doesn't matter (how many times a day can a person write supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Who cares how it's spelled? I certainly don't). But we're making fliers marketing our new dietitian and typing out literature explaining what she does, et cetera. And rather than educate the uninformed, the company would rather just cater to the masses and make us look like IDIOTS.

My panties are totally in a wad. And I won't be able to sleep at night unless I point out two final aggravating points of interest:

I spell-checked this post prior to publishing, and even BLOGGER knows that dietician with a C is WRONG. AND, this is just funny: Blogger knows how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. If you spell it wrong, it will suggest the "correct" way! Who knew there IS a correct way?

Lastly, the most galling, exasperating, infuriating, outrage of all: In the packet of literature that we send to all of our new patients, we have a page about the dietary changes chemotherapy can cause, and explains that if you're experiencing difficulties you can seek out a dietitian! Spelled CORRECTLY. For years we've been sending out information to our patients with the darned word spelled the way it's supposed to be and it's NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE.


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