One night late this summer Aunt Mable thought she saw a UFO out behind the cucumbers. Now, that’s a story in and of itself, one maybe I’ll tell you some other time. Let’s just say it set her back for a while, and made her think some strange force was behind everything that happened for the next couple of months. Anyway, she finally got better, after Aunt Nelda Mae made her a special healing juice out of rutubagas, hot peppers, and vinegar. Nelda Mae took her up some a that juice every day for weeks – the first day, she just kinda opened Mable’s mouth and poured some in, and Mable’s eyes jerked open real fast, kinda, so Nelda Mae knew she was on to something. The same thing happened the next day, and the next, but within a few days, every time Nelda poured some in, Mable’s toes would kinda twitch, then one day her whole arm kinda fluttered at Nelda – she knocked a whole pitcher of the special juice outta Nelda Mae’s hand, ‘course we knew she didn’t mean to, she was just slow getting control of herself. Then one morning, before Nelda Mae got there, Mable came kinda half-walking-half-shuffling in the kitchen, and said – this was the first thing she had said since the UFO night, I was so surprised – anyway, she said she didn’t want Nelda Mae to come see her that day, just some milk would do fine, thank you.
If you set a mouse trap under the kitchen sink, don’t forget that you put it there. Because on a Sunday night years and years later, your wife will decide to clean out the area under the sink, and the ensuing contact scenario will not be pretty.
(I was pretty amazed at how well-reserved the subject of the trap was, however).
(I probably shouldn’t have said that to her, however however)
I don’t generally spend much time trying to figure out my dreams, for two reasons: they’re often pretty fragmented and strange, and I rarely remember much about them beyond “that was kinda wierd”. BUt the other night, I had one that has stayed with me. Any of you into dream interpretation, have at it.
It started with the monkeys. I noticed that a neighbor a couple of houses down had these monkeys in their back yard. They were kept in by this high fence, but one kept running up this tall tree and trying to jump out far enough to clear the fence. He finally made it, but got hurt while he was landing. He laid there a little while in the grass, and then police and firemen and an ambulance showed up. My wife and I decided to walk down the street to see the goings-on. We walked past the house, and by the time we headed back, the police and firemen were gone. But then, three tigers came out of the house. They didn’t attack us, but they came right up and began nudging us, pretty hard. A kid came out of the and said he had called his father, who trained the tigers (this was apparently a circus family, I guess) to come get them back in, but meanwhile we had to start getting the tigers to do tricks, or they would get bored and attack us. So we were getting the tigers to roll over, play dead, stand on stools, that type of thing. And we were running out of ideas for tricks, and the trainer-dad wasn’t yet home. That’s when I woke up. End of dream.
When did these words become interchangeable? For years, we grammar snobs fought the battle against the improper use of “I” and “me”. But now, that has morphed into an unholy trinity of mis-appropriated personal reference. This afternoon, I heard Dan Akroyd refer to “John and myself”. Sports figures are among the worst offenders – “He wasn’t respecting myself”. “Me” seems to be a forgotten word in our vocabulary. So, here’s a quick review:
I and me are personal pronouns. I is a nominative personal pronoun; me is an objective pronoun. The nominative is used when it is the subject of a verb:
I wrote this snobby little post about grammar.
or when used as a predicate nominative:
The oldest people in the room are he and I.
The objective pronoun me is used when the pronoun is the direct or indirect object of a verb, or the object of a preposition:
He hit me with a rock. (Direct object)
She gave me apple pie for dessert. (Indirect object)
She gave the pie to me. (Object of a preposition)
Myself is a reflexive pronoun. Myself should only be used if the word I has already been used in the same sentence, either when the subject and object of the sentence are the same:
I hurt myself when I fell.
or when you’re emphasizing the subject:
I finished it myself.
Pretty exciting stuff, right? So, let’s use the right word at the right time, and maybe I won’t start ranting about how the transformation of impact from a noun into a verb was the beginning of the end of America’s moral dominance.
When I was ten, I would look up at the night sky from my home in the outskirts of Jackson, Mississippi, and see a sky full of stars. Their magic captivated me – I would often arise in the middle of the night and sneak out with my telescope, for the chance to spend a few extra minutes under the stars. Through the years, those stars never lost their magic. Even without a telescope, I spent many hours watching the grand procession of the constellations and planets across the sky as the seasons changed. As the years went by, other interests and responsibilities took time away from stargazing. Then, about fifteen years ago, my wife gave me a telescope for Christmas, and this was followed soon afterward by a move to a suburb of Jackson, a small town with the dark skies I remembered from my youth. My passion for astronomy was rekindled. But over the next few years, I began to take notice of changes in the skies. Not the appearance of new stars, but the gradual disappearance of old ones. The town in which I lived was growing rapidly, and as it grew, I noticed that the sky was becoming brighter. There was a glow along the horizons, low and fairly dim at first, but soon spreading over a third of the sky. Where once I could see all seven stars of the Little Dipper, now I could rarely see more than three or four. What had happened? It was a phenomenon known as light pollution. As stores and restaurants were built along the highway about one-half mile to my west, stray light from unshielded or poorly shielded fixtures in parking lots, on storefronts, and along the road combined to create a glow that scattered across the sky, blotting out the fainter stars. Familiar figures in the night sky, such as the Big Dipper and Orion, faded and became difficult to recognize as the fainter stars in the constellation could no longer be seen. The backyard that ten years earlier was a gateway to the universe was now captive to lights from two grocery stores, two drugstores, three fast-food restaurants, two banks, and a service station. This is a common occurrence in many parts of the United States today. As we push suburbia further into the countryside, the lights of the many conveniences we need or want follow