The other day, I received another post comments (I get like 10 a month) reminding me what many of my poor tortured teachers in grade school and high school use to drill into me…. I’m a mentally challenged idiot who will never amount to anything. I know… I know.. they were prophets. But they didn’t have to be so mean about it. Back to my latest blog critic. This week a blog commenter brought me back to Ms. Hockberg’s 3rd-grade class. It wasn’t that he was cruel. in fact, I think he was trying to be helpful when he gave me both a compliment and a grammar lesson that went like so:
Outstanding content but you need to learn how apostrophes are used. Running a spell-check program will help. hypotheses — no apostrophe needed. One hypothesis. Two hypotheses. . . . show me that your willing . . ” Should be you’re. You + are = you’re.” . . . other people who’s judgment I trust . . .” Should be whose. Who’s = who + is.” . . . bet on the company based on it’s risk . . . ” Should be its. Its indicates possession. It’s = it + is.”
He went on from there and offered about 5 paragraphs of edits. First off his comment, “you need to,” No I don’t need to. You might like me to, you might want me to, but I don’t need to. Because I’m not some trained monkey begging for a passing grade. My response?
I absolutely recognize my total failure in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. These skills cost me dearly as I barely got out of High School and College and was squarely labeled mentally challenged. So here’s the thing. I love to write, and writing what I write, as I write it in the volumes that I produce it takes a surprisingly little amount of my precious time. If I was required to be grammatically perfect, it would add 10 hours of painful, enjoyable work for every 1 hour I spend producing content and that would drive me to stop writing. I’m not willing to add any financial overhead to hire a copywriter.
I’ve been offered free copywriting but know that it will come at a cost of process overhead friction that I’m not willing to take on. Therefore, I’ve chosen simple and fun over drudgery. I don’t mind losing the people who are offended by my display of stupidity. If a person values style over substance, there are plenty of grammatically pure blogs they can go to. I’m happy to filter those folks out of my life. I’ve already been judged by them and failed. For those who value the humor, viewpoint, and content and forgive me my faults… I’m all about them.
So thanks for the help. But I’m not stupid. I have a weakness. A minor flaw. We all have them in different areas. In the eight crayons, I’ve been dealt in my crayon box of life, I was not dealt a grammar crayon. Unfortunately for kids growing up like me the lack of that grammar crayon frequently gets’s them labeled as “challenged.” They may be blessed with creativity, empathy, powerful deductive reasoning, exceptional communications skills, humor, musical, artistic or athletic talent.
Very few of us get more than eight crayons in our box. Yet this spelling crayon is more visible than the fact that you can’t sing. I once had a boss who had no empathy and therefore was a weak leader. Yet he focused on my lack of spelling while missing the fact that his lack of empathy crayon was costing him loyalty and high attrition on his executive team. His investors probably would have liked to switch my empathy crayon with his grammar crayon. Unfortunately, his lack of empathy drove my lack of spelling talent to another opportunity. I didn’t hang around long enough to trade Crayolas.
The point is, that we all have a set of strengths and weaknesses. You can’t build a baseball team of 9 pitchers, or 9 catchers, or 9 clean up batters. It’s okay that the shortstop can’t throw a curve ball or a 102 mpg fastball with the accuracy of a seal team six sniper. You build a baseball team, a basketball team, an orchestra or a company with different people with different talents. You try to build a company with the 77 color Crayola Deluxe.
I hope our education system has changed since I was a kid because I grew up thinking I was a lazy ignoramus who would never achieve any measure of success. I don’t know how many people were not as lucky as I and never found out their teachers were wrong. I don’t know how many talented people gave up in frustration. Thankfully I got a little lucky and found a career that valued results over style and form.
When you’re building a team remember that it’s okay that your second baseman can’t throw a curve ball… it doesn’t mean he can’t play 2nd base and help the team win a championship. I’m an old fart and its, oh excuse me it’s unlikely in my old age that I’m going to become a detail-oriented robotic writer and that’s fine because I don’t as the commenter suggested, “have to.” And if you don’t understand and agree with my point, or if you think my writing is not interesting or offers no value or if you find that my flaws make this blog unusable for you… there are plenty of “thought leaders” with good grammar. They’ll welcome you as a reader. I’ll miss you!
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