One day, when I was in high school, I walked into the library and was surprised to see the mother of Leslie, my old elementary school chum. She and her family had moved from my hometown a few years back, and I approached her to say hello.
She was chatting with the librarian, who I had always found to be a stern, somewhat snarky woman. She ran that high school library with an iron fist, and I spent a lot of time there, so I knew how irritable and condescending she could be.
After saying hello and sharing the usual pleasantries, my friend’s mom asked me how I was doing in school. I responded, “I’m doing really good!”
The librarian snickered, and even Leslie’s mom let out a small titter. I looked from one woman to the other in utter confusion as to what could possibly be derived as humorous in my statement.
I began to think my fly on my faux Jordache’s was open until the Librarian, with an air of superiority said, “It’s doing ‘well,’ not doing ‘good.’”
I reddened, and deeply. Here I was trying to show my academic greatness, and I couldn’t even formulate a grammatically correct sentence. I felt like a jerk and skulked away at my earliest opportunity.
But it’s amazing what utter embarrassment will do to aid your memory. I’ve never, ever forgotten that point of grammar, and make sure to correct my girls when either of them misuses the phrase.
Same for 7 x 8. I’ve never been a multiplication whiz, and once in 6th grade my teacher asked me what 7 x 8 was. While I frenziedly fumbled to figure out the answer, she said, “Class, what is 7 x 8?”
Within seconds the entire class was chanting the phrase “7 x 8 is 56! 7 x 8 is 56! 7 x 8 is 56!”
Humiliations galore? You bet! But I have never forgotten that product.
I’m still a bit of a dunderhead when it comes to math, and I will never call myself a great grammarian (is that even a word?). But I try to know the basics so I don’t look like a total nimrod like I did in that high school library.
Things like knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Or “two,” “to” and “too.”Oh, and let’s not forget “who’s” and “whose.” And “there,” “they’re” and “their.”
Now, I’m sure there are a bunch of you out there who could take a red pen to every post I have ever written and make me feel lower than champion limbo dancer. But I’ll tell you one thing…you will never read that I am doing good.
Typical Tracy will forever be well.