A dear friend of mine was inspired to call in to a nationally syndicated talk radio show. The topic of the program that day hit a nerve and she had something to share. She waited on hold while entertaining her toddler in the background. She finally got through. Live. On the air. She said her piece and used the word, “flummoxed.” She was flummoxed. A beautiful synonym for the words confused and perplexed. But the radio personality interrupted her, as he’s known to do, and accused her of not knowing what the word meant.
Now, I will admit, I do not use the word “flummoxed” every day. Or very often, for that matter. So I wouldn’t fault you for not being familiar. But he accused her, on the national airwaves, and asked her to define the word even though she had just used it correctly in a sentence.
(snicker, snicker – I’ll bet he didn’t know what it meant!)
So she defined it. Correctly. And of course she did. She’s a well-educated-former-attorney-turned-stay-at-home-mom-and-it’s-driving-her-crazy-because-she-loved-her-work-but-she’s-doing-it-anyway-because-she-feels-that’s-what’s-best-for-her-kids and that’s what I love about her. And he treated her, for all the world to hear, like just another “dumb housewife.”
While proofing a post I created recently (ok, proofing is not really the correct term – more like pressing the spell check button) I came across a blue line underneath the word “eliminate.” I slowly checked my spelling. E-l-i-m-i-n-a-t-e. Nope. It’s spelled right. I re-read the sentence. “I will never be able to eliminate them from my life.” Nope. Used correctly. Hmmmmm. Please explain, I asked the spell/grammar check program.
This is what it said:
Try a simpler word for eliminate
Where possible you should use a simple word over a complex word. Simple words are easier to read and let your readers focus on your ideas.
Replace eliminate with
Are you kidding me? Eliminate is a complex word? Not where I come from. I’m talking to other moms out there (and a few enlightened dads – thanks guys!). Moms (and cool dads) who are well versed in the world of elimination, if you get my drift.
I remember reading a while back that the average newspaper article should reflect a 5th grade reading level. A 5th grader should be able to read an article, understand all of the words and the point being made. I remember having the words “analyze” and “system” on a 2nd grade spelling test and thinking I was a big shot. Surely a 5th grader understands the meaning of the word “eliminate.”
So, WordPress thinks that the word “eliminate” is too difficult for my blog readers to understand? Apparently my writing has too many run-on and incomplete sentences, too. No surprise there – and I was just beginning to embrace that quirky nuance of my style. I also use passive voice on occasion. How else would you say “she was flummoxed” or “should be able to?”
I think I will just have to eliminate the WordPress spell check feature from my pre-posting routine. You are all just going to have to put up with my mis-spellings, run-ons, incomplete sentences and passive writing. I’m hard enough on myself. I don’t need WordPress rubbing it in.
And because, well, frankly?