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I was just reading email at work: skimming a message from new co-worker, who was commenting on a thread I'm not involved in. Maybe a dozen lines in, my ears pricked up when I came across a nice turn of phrase. Nothing brilliant, but a phrase that expressed a thought well, and in an unexpected way. The sort of thing that makes those of us who love language smile a little --- not least because we suspect we've come across a kindred spirit.

So I slowed down; started actually reading, not just skimming. All mentally prepared to find a couple more nice turns of phrase: Enough evidence to drop by the guy's desk and say "Hey, nice touch in that email." Engineers who can write are rare, and a clever little flourish in email, like the funny but on-point remark in a meeting, makes the work day better.

So I'm all mentally geared up for another smile of nerdy pleasure. And I'm reading along. And three or four lines later, comes the first misspelling. One that dropped an entire syllable. Then, on that same line, a first missing comma.

Disappointment. The devil is in the details, as they say.
xela: Photo of me (Default)

This popped into my head a few minutes ago. That happens fairly often: little snippets of ideas that could be incidents in a story. This one seemed like it could stand on its own:


The Herpetologist

There was a time, now thankfully in the past, when she'd hung out in singles bars  — and had, as a consequence, become quite an expert amateur herpetologist, collecting significant and original taxonomic notes. She gave up her hobby quite abruptly one day, when she found herself, inspired by a particularly slithery example, seriously considering moving into the most advanced rank of amateur naturalists: those who not only observe and classify, but also collect specimens, and keep them stuffed and mounted in her home.

Too much trouble, she decided, for a hobby I never really wanted to get into in the first place.

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xela

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