The Blue Book (source: grammarbook.com)

I’m sure that some people visit my blog and wonder what kind of arrogant prick writes stuff like this? I sometimes give the impression that I have a superiority complex. I suppose that is because I do have a superiority complex.

I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with tooting your own horn when you’ve worked hard to accomplish something. I’ve studied the English language and I have developed a talent for writing. Sure, I make mistakes like anyone else. My mind works fast and sometimes I miss words entirely while my fingers try to keep up with my brain. I can get sloppy at the keyboard while I’m multitasking, too, opening new tabs in my browser to check out Facebook or Twitter notifications. It distracts me from what I’m doing, and I make careless mistakes as a result.

For the most part, however, I’m a pretty clean writer. I also discuss topics that I’ve studied for years, so I usually don’t put my foot in my mouth. So, why am I telling you this? Because I’m still looking for a job that I’m probably never going to get. I keep applying for writing/editing/communications positions, but I’m getting no responses from potential employers despite the strength of my résumé. In the meantime, I’m stumbling across the stupidest mistakes made by so-called professional writers in the most high–profile media.

Last week, I read a front-page newspaper headline that used the word “waiver” instead of “waver.” How many people read the front page of a newspaper before it goes to print? It was an inexcusable error. Just a moment ago, a Twitter account I follow directed me to a bio of a prominent local politician that was riddled with grammatical errors. Again, someone was paid to compose that piece of shit. And don’t even get me started about the Tweets coming from the office of the President of the United States!

I don’t sweat the small stuff, like someone typing “your” when they mean “you’re” in a social media post. It’s no big deal if I miss a word, or if I use a semi-colon where I should have used a colon, either. I’m goofing around on a blog that barely anyone reads. But when I am paid to write, I know that I’m good at what I do. That’s not arrogance: it’s self-awareness. I’m confident in my vocation because I was not only trained to be a writer, but I’ve also been honing my craft for decades.

So, if I do get a little bitchy about this stuff, it’s because I see charlatans everywhere I look. The same thing happens when I read the work of other astrologers, but the discipline of astrology isn’t nearly as formal as the English language. The rules are plastic. Grammar, on the other hand, is quite a rigid discipline. I may not know everything about it, but I do know more than most of the people who inexplicably get jobs as writers and editors.

I don’t get it. How can you be demonstrably terrible at what you do and still get work? I suppose it’s one of the mysteries of life. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my scholarly exploration of the mysteries of life . . .

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