Tuesday, October 22, 2013

No One Hates it More Than I

I suppose it’s time to throw in the old grammarian’s towel and give in to modern usage and stop making a fuss about it. President Obama convinced me of this last night. A lot of my friends, with relief, will say, finally!
by Charlie Leck

Oh, how rankled I get when I hear someone use the wrong personal pronoun. There are these very odd radio guys here in the Twin Cities who are forever saying things like: “Well, the coach certainly knows that better than me!”

I turn toward the radio in my car when I hear that and I scream: “…knows it better than I… better than I… better than I do, stupid! There’s an understood verb there, stupid. It’s not better than me do!”

I’ve got a golf course friend who is always correcting my lays and lies. He can’t stand it when I say, “I lay three.”

“No, no,” he’ll say, “you lie three.”

“That’s what I said,” I’ll respond, “I lay three.”

Yet, this golf course fellow will still constantly say things like: “Nobody hits it better than him!”

OMG! I can’t stand it. It’s like someone scraping fingernails across sandpaper. I scream out for mercy!

“Better than he, goofus! No one hits it better than he… better than he… better than he does!”

Well, it’s over! I quit! I promise! I won’t do it again. Not I!

President Obama made a speech yesterday about the early computer hitches in the web site of the Affordable Health Care Act (that many people are calling Obamacare). The speech was all about his frustration caused by the problems they are having in rolling out this new health care law. In his speech, he said…

“Nobody is more frustrated than me!”

“Oh, my! Mr. President… sir… uhm… Barack… uhm, Mr. President, you graduated from Columbia and Harvard. You were the President of the Law Review. Sir, it is I. I mean, it is not supposed to be me. It is I… as in ‘nobody is more frustrated than I. The understood (but silent) verb, sir, is ‘am.” So, sir, it is ‘no one is more frustrated than I.’ Sorry, sir!”

However, I did not cry out. I wept silently for the truth. My daughter, the English teacher, tried to explain it to me.

“Popular usage,” she said, “over time, gradually changes the laws of grammar.”

Can you imagine! Can you imagine? Shakespeare wrote thusly: “It is I, Portent, your noble servant!”

Out on to the stage strolls the great actor, before the luxuriously clad, opening night audience at Shakespeare Theatre in Avon, on Stratford, and he says…

“Hey, Portent baby, it’s me, your dang butcher, baker and candlestick maker, kiddo, and I’m here to do watcha want me to, anyhow!”

As a kid, I’d often come banging into the house after a ball game or an afternoon playing war games in the cemetery, and hear my mother cry out, “Who is it?”

“It’s me,” I’d reply with a shout.

“It is not,” my mom would holler back at the top of her lungs! “It is I! It is I!”

“No, no,” I’d scream back. “It is me! Really, mom!”

My mom, and Mrs. Call, my English teacher, eventually got me straightened away on the rules and made me see how much more beautiful it is to say “I.”  Yes, it is I, Mother, your loving son.

But henceforth, sweet, dear Mother, it shall be me! “It’s me, bitch! So what’s your gripe anyway?”

The President has utterly silenced me. It is he who has done this to me! No one is more aware of that than I.

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince.
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
                                                                                             [Hamlet, Act V]


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1 comment:

  1. You sound like my spouse, the product of Catholic schools where they excelled in grammar. I think your daughter has it right.