Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Design Flaws

I’m “White & Nerdy,” so give me long, Samson-like locks and call me Weird O (and perhaps weirdo), because I’m in the mood to parody a song. I’ve chosen the 1968 Beatles classic “Hey Jude.” My version is called “Hey Judy.” I have only two verses so far — the first and the last:

Hey, Judy, don’t make me sad
Take a bad sign and make it better
Remember the letters after the r
Then you can start to make it better

Hey, Judy, don’t make me sad
Take a bad sign and make it better
Remember to sever blunders you did
Then you begin to make it better 
(better, better, better, better, better, oh!)

Nursery’s? No siree. Y-apostrophe? Why? That’s not the plural of nursery.

Enter the nursery with me, Judy. (Soothing voices only in here.) Walk past the crib and make a beeline for the changing table. We’ve got a dirty word to fix. First, keeping one hand on nursery’s at all times (or securing her with a strap), wipe away the y and the apostrophe. Set them aside. Next, apply petroleum jelly to prevent a rash of errors. Then, fasten a fresh ie to the right side of the second r. It should be snug but not too tight. Put nurseries in a safe place while you clean the area. Dispose of the y and the apostrophe and, finally, wash your hands thoroughly. We’re done! Wasn’t that easy? Fixing that child’s room was child’s play.

My brother’s friend Vickey noticed this design flaw while out to lunch with friends at 5th Street Marketplace in Crossville, Tennessee. The marketplace is a one-stop destination for clothes, jewelry, artwork, greeting cards, pet products and home décor fashioned by local designers, artists and other vendors. Vickey, however, was not window-shopping on her lunch hour. She was window-editing. Thank you, Vickey! You understand that while open windows should be screened to keep out bugs, or insects, all windows should be screened to point out bugs, or imperfections.

This particular window has more than one imperfection. The flaws aren’t confined to the nursery. Kid’s Rooms wasn’t handled with kid gloves. The apostrophe comes after the s. I kid you not. Kids is a plural noun. When creating the possessive form of a plural noun ending in s, you add an apostrophe — at the end. What possessed Judy to insert it before the s? I stand corrected, of course, if Judy works her magic on only the myriad rooms of one spoiled kid. If, say, little Billy has two bedrooms, a rec room, a playroom, an office, a panic room, a private bath and an art studio, then Judy has done no wrong. But if she designs rooms for Billy, Susie and other kids, the punctuation mark missed the mark, and I must judge Judy.

Judge her I must. I’ve weighed the evidence, and it’s time to put the hammer gavel down: Judy, I find you guilty of multiple counts of improper apostrophe usage. If you are going to decorate your window with a fancy font, don’t fancy yourself an editor. Have someone who understands the rules of grammar and punctuation look it over before your windowpane becomes a window pain.

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