A few days ago, my hubby and I met with some friends at a restaurant. Most of the conversation circled around firearms, but then it turned toward other subjects such as the riots, and other issues and controversies of the day.
Soon the conversation turned toward social media.
One mentioned how he doesn’t always agree with what I write on Facebook. He considers responding, but ends up leaving no comment. He said my posts are so well written, anything he adds would look stupid by comparison. “I simply don’t know how to write with as good of grammar as you do.”
Aside and disclaimer: this is not meant as a braggadocios post, but something else, which I will explain further.
I quirked by head at him and said, “Huh. I never thought of using good grammar as a weapon before.”
“That’s exactly what it is,” he said. “A weapon.”
Another piped up with, “The pen is mightier than the sword after all.”
The problem with some cliches is they often become so common, they take on a certain abstraction with no real-world value people can use in their daily life. I’ve used the pen versus sword phrase before in previous posts, usually to say that we need to ever be aware of every word we speak or write. They can tear people down as easily as they can uplift.
Yet I still never considered writing well (having good grammar) as a weapon to the point people wouldn’t want to engage—feeling inadequate to the task.
in some ways I was gratified by the comment, but it also made me sad. I never want to intimidate anyone with my skills. I want them to be inviting and informative so people will engage, even if they disagree. Sometimes especially if they disagree. I would rather look like a fool for a moment than a fool forever because I didn’t take the time to listen and learn something new.
I get it though.
I like to sing, and love to belt out tunes while in my car or alone in the house. I may even be fairly good at it. I also don’t know how to read a single note of music. I couldn’t distinguish a B from an A to save my life.
If a professional singer asked me to do a duet, however, I would have to politely decline. I’m simply not skilled enough—feeling inadequate to the task. ‘Tis better to sit in the corner and not engage.
At the same time, by not taking up the invitation, I deny myself the benefit of the singer’s skills to possibly improve my own.
Sure, in some instances I like the idea of wielding my grammar skills as a weapon, but I prefer to wield them to teach and edify, but mostly as an invitation to discuss ideas and learn from others.