Wednesday, July 15, 2009
During a recent perusal of one our favourite haunts, Old Navy, Quinn, who has actually grown to hate the place, and holds his breath when we pass the mall, in in effort to keep us from pulling in, spotted a t-shirt he had to have. It features a red foam finger, something we had just talked about as we watched Jon & Kate (yes we watch, we love, we are deaf to your criticisms) and their foam-fingered brood. The shirt said "#1 fan Mom's." I told Quinn he could get it but upon subsequent inspection I became outraged by the apostrophe, assuming the shirt's message was that "I am the #1 fan of moms," as in plural moms? Moms in general. I was utterly dismayed and told Quinn he could not have the shirt. In fact, where is management? He said he really wanted it, the apostrophe, while misplaced, was small, and the over all sentiment was really important to him. Ugh. I told him I was colouring over the offending punctuation the instant we got home, because my OCD would sooner kill me than allow my child to brandish an errant apostrophe. Well, it just so happens, Quinn has quirks of his own, and taking a Sharpie to his new shirt is one of them. Simple. I made it the condition of the purchase and he had no choice. So we get home, he dons the shirt, I take a picture to show everyone I know, and whip out my Sharpie. Quinn winced, as if to say, "Must you?" And I coloured furiously. "I must."
This is the shirt, in its shame:
Mom's effort to erase the evidence of apostrophe ignorance:
No sooner had I made the world a better place did I realize the mistake, was, um, mine. I suddenly became aware of what the shirt was actually trying to say, which is "Mom's #1 fan," and could also have been read as, "#1 fan of Mom's," both quite correct. In fact, I really have no idea how I came to read the shirt as being wrong in the first place. Somehow I really thought the "Moms" was plural, thereby rendering an apostrophe offensively out of place. But the instant I "fixed" the shirt, it all became clear, and I had, in essence, ruined it. Now "Moms" has to be plural, which will be counter-intuitive when reading the shirt. I don't blame myself though, I mean, who prints sentence fragments on foam finger t-shirts and expects everyone to get it? Least of all me, the ultimate Grammar Nazi.
Let this be a lesson in Old Navy fever, a phenomenon wherein prolonged exposure to the lights, the colours, some good, some bad, two trips to the dressing room, and gift cards burning holes in your purse result in spontaneous illiteracy and half hour contemplation of such things as faded denim jackets that would even make the Indigo Girls cry.
So please, if you're ever going to write me a letter, don't do it on a foam finger.