And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... part two, or three, of why English is a difficult language to learn.

The radio ad was for a restaurant featuring vegetarian meatballs. Imagine learning what vegetables are and what meat means, and try putting them together so it makes sense.

It’s like the phrase jumbo shrimp. Jumbo meaning large and shrimp meaning small, right?

And say you are driving an Allamakee County road and you see groups of wild creatures. There are lots of deer. But lots of turkeys. Why the “s” for the turkey numbers but not the deer? Or the “s” for foxes but no “s” for moose, the latter not seen in Allamakee.

Who made the rules?

Still on the subject of outdoor things, have you noticed the fireflies? They seem extremely bright this year. As if you could put a couple in a jar, as we used to when we were children, and read a book by their light. Which we did not do as children.

And speaking of things with animal names, did you notice that only one Chicago Cub made the all-star team? Last year, in that pennant winning season, there were seven. Staffing the infield and a couple of pitchers.

Irony of ironies on the national political scene.

Voters in most states voted mostly for a non-politician, Donald Trump, for president. Many of them did so because they did not want another politically-correct career politician in the job.

The trouble with that is that someone like Trump has rarely had to deal with a group of people who were not his subordinates and toadies, or who did not seek comity or his approval for a business deal which might profit both of them. He was not used to people being vocal in opposition just because they don’t like him.

Whatever else their shortcomings might be, and they are numerous, career politicians have developed the rhinoceros hide which is necessary to survive that sort of attack. Trump is thin-skinned. He seemingly cannot ignore a personal insult. And so, like the kid on the playground, he responds to insult with greater insult.

Newspaper editors are among those who need to develop a thick skin. Despite the old joke about not getting into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, modem day editors rarely respond in kind to harsh criticism. I always tried a little humor. If that didn’t work, I listened, agreed when I could, and tried to persuade when I could not agree.

It often worked, proving that tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip!

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