Archive for May, 2012

What Language Am I Reading?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Is it just me, or is there an epidemic of writers who consistently slaughter the English language?  Whether it’s an online post, a newspaper or magazine article, or a website feed; I find it irritating that errors in published form dominate almost all of the English literary media.

While there are many such abuses, the most common is the incorrect use of commas.  Commas are used (1) to separate words in a list; (2) to join compound sentences; and (3) after introductory phrases.  Most grammar reference guides agree that it is not necessary to add a comma after the last item in a list, unless the list contains more than three items.  For example, “lions, tigers and bears” does not need a comma after the word “and”; as opposed to “bread, milk, jam, and honey,” which does.  Strangely, many writers cannot seem to get this right.

With compound sentences, each sentence can stand on its own as a separate and complete sentence.  When this is found, a comma must be used to divide the sentences.  The same rule applies when using introductory phrases, such as “after, although, however, indeed, unless, before, but, and, yet, so, etc.”  Otherwise, the passage becomes a run-on sentence.  A good rule of thumb is, “If you pause when you said the sentence, a comma goes where you paused.”   Weren’t these rules learned in Basic English courses in grammar school?

My hair has been receding for many years now.  And, yet, if I had hair on the top of my head, I believe I would pull it out every time I see the misuse of  “there” vs. “their.”  There can be either an adverb, adjective or pronoun, depending on how it is used. It always refers to distance, geography or space.  An example is, “I plan to go there tomorrow.”  The word their is a plural possessive pronoun, and is used when multiple subjects possess something.  For, example, it is right to say, “Their children attend the same school as my children do.”  Somebody, please tell me why writers continue to commit this grammatical faux pas!

I’m getting stressed just writing about this topic, so I will mention one more English grammar error before I go comb my thinning hair.  Perhaps the most abused category of errors center around Possessive Pronouns and Contractions.   Particularly prevalent is the misuse of your vs. you’re.  The word your is another of the possessive pronouns, as in “your cat” or “your daughter.”  You’re is a contraction that means “you are,” as in “you’re annoying me by misusing your when you mean you are.”   

It is bizarre that the English language is so consistently and brutally butchered.  Writers, give a guy a break.  Please stop making these mistakes!  It reflects on you as a person.  Do you really want to be known as a person who can’t communicate in an articulate manner?  I am a writer who loves to read and I want to keep doing both.  Help me to preserve what little hair I have left. Please write well, or take an English course.



Clint Eastwood, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and Me…..

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto Internation...

Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dick Van Dyke in December 2007.

Dick Van Dyke in December 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Ronn Jerard

No, I am not famous like these guys, but we all have one thing in common: we are all involved in May-December relationships.  Come on, you know what that is, don’t you?  It’s when there is a large age gap between two people involved in a love relationship.

There are countless other men who have much younger mates, and many of them are celebrities.  The supposition is that these relationships occur more among men who are wealthy and successful.  I question the validity of that premise, but it does feel pretty good to be a member of that group.

In my case, the age gap is 32 years; and compared to Clint, Dick, Tony, and Woody, I’m the baby of the group.  Not bad for an ordinary, un-famous guy like myself.  Now I don’t know what my celebrity counterparts experienced, but I’m still getting “the eye” when my mate and I are out in public.  That’s when people stare at us as if we have something hanging from our noses.  Actually, they focus more on my nose as they try to reason why a guy my age has a beautiful young woman clinging to my arm.

I have been mistaken for my lady’s uncle, older brother, and father.  Most of the time, it is amusing to watch the embarrassment that comes over a person who makes that mistake.  Only once was I complimented by a young woman who surmised (rightly so, I must confess) that I must be one incredible lover to be so obviously adored by the woman holding on to me.

I find it interesting that many people in the United States look with disdain upon this type of match-up.  They suspect that what they see publicly is an example of a man who is either a “dirty old man,” or a “sugar daddy” (or both); while the woman is a “gold digger.”  Never mind that this kind of romantic pairing is considered normal in certain cultures; as in some parts of Asia.

I reason that if it was good enough for Bogie and Bacall (and for Charlie Chaplin and Oona O’Neill), why shouldn’t I give it a whirl?  I admit that my ego is somewhat inflated, but before you say that I landed this lovely lady for a less than honorable intent, let me say that I was not actively looking for a younger woman when I met her.  (The operative word, of course, is “actively,” but that’s for another post.)

Truthfully, being in a committed relationship with a woman who is thirty-two years my junior is both a blessing and a challenge.  We genuinely love each other, and we work hard to build a union that is mutually satisfying for both of us.  She loves me in spite of my age, but she is quite aware of the challenges that accompany our situation.  For my part, I accept the generational divide that we face with a clear awareness of what I need to do to close that gap from time to time, at least from a mental and emotional point of view.

I am not an expert on relationships, although I have been in a few before my current one.  It was never my intention, however, to find a younger woman with whom to live common-law.  As our relationship progressed from its initial stages to a more committed involvement, we discussed the long-range potential that lay ahead of us.  When we were clear of our growing love for each other, we determined that marriage was the only option that we wanted to pursue.  “Shacking” was just not an option.

So now we are planning a wedding.  Having been married once before, my fiancée has some trepidation about doing it again.  In her case, her first marriage ended poorly.  I, too, have been married before, but my experiences were different.  Nevertheless, we function as a married couple already, so I am not as fearful of another walk down the aisle.  Already we are dealing with the emotional aspects of living as a married couple, instead of as a domestic couple.  So marriage seems the next logical step for us.

That’s another thing that I have in common with Clint, Dick, Tony, and Woody.  Woody may have waited longer, but all of these guys are married to the younger women in their lives.  Not that I am doing so, but if I had to emulate icons of age-gap marriages, these guys are as good to follow as other lesser known men.  At the very least, if those relationships hit a snag, their celebrity would cast eyes of public scrutiny in their direction.  And we could learn from that.

As for me, I’m just optimistic enough to believe that my lady and I can make it work.  And if we fail, it won’t be because there is a thirty-two year gap between our ages.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Tags: Age-gap relationships, older man younger woman marriages, relationships, sex between older men and younger women, Tony Bennett, Dick Van Dyke, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, celebrity marriages, shacking up, dirty old men, sugar daddy, gold digger, committed relationships, Bogie & Bacall, Charlie Chaplin & Oona O’Neill (more…)