Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Shot An Elephant In My Pajamas

I do not fancy myself to be a professional writer. I am a recreational writer. The blog is enough for me. As writers go, I, like my gal Hillary, am likable enough. I know that I use sentence fragments to make my points. I know that I create words that don't exist anywhere other than my blog. But I am not writing a serious news article. I am only writing my little Hillmomba City blog, for my handful of loyal readers.

When I see bad writing, it sticks in my craw. One of the worst offenders in my circle of daily reads is the KSKD St. Louis news website. I can't figure out if nobody bothers to proofread, if they are using interns to write their online copy, or if KSDK has received stimulus money to employ writers for whom English is a second language. Here's the latest entry to cause me to wax apoplectic:


By: Casey Nolen

KSDK -- A long time, and well liked North St. Louis County teacher and coach is in intensive care at SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton dealing with some very serious injuries, but grateful for some unlikely rescuers who may have saved his life.

Richard Rauch spent more than 30 years teaching the skills of communication, and perfecting the art of teaching -- in the classroom at Hazelwood Central High School and on the court coaching championship tennis and basketball teams.

"Next to my parents, he's probably the biggest influence in my life," says former student David Creasy.

"I learned a lot of stuff from him," says Creasy. "And it's applying to my life right now."

Creasy and others who Mr. Rauch touched as a mentor, are now coming to be by his side.

Tuesday, the 79-year-old fell down the stairs in his Florissant home, breaking his neck.

For the next two days, the man who spent his life communicating couldn't reach out to anyone for help, and couldn't move from the bottom of the stairs.

"I could not attract anybody," said Rauch from his hospital bed. "I was in extreme pain, and I knew what hell was like -- to be isolated."

Paralyzed on the floor, Rauch was holding on to one hope -- an appointment on Thursday morning with two insurance agents who were scheduled to come to his house.

"I was on the floor praying that they would come on time," said Rauch.

They did, and when they arrived they heard Rauch crying for help and call 911. Doctors say their timing may have saved his life.

"I'd hate to think how I would be, because I was nearly driven to the edge of madness," says Rauch.

Now family and former students are looking after him, and trying to help him with his recovery.

"Boys, I'm so glad you were able to come over, it means a lot to me," said Rauch to Creasy and another student by his bed.


Yes, I included the author's name. Because I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and assigning blame where blame is due. Somebody please teach this kid how to use a comma, and how not to use hyphens. PLEASE!

If this teacher dude taught the Creasy kid, heaven help us. The St. Louis area will be full of writers and speakers like the author of this story.

I'm thinking that the teacher dude would probably wish the author had not used the phrase 'and others who Mr. Rauch touched as a mentor.' Because teachers are kind of sensitive about the notion that they 'touched' students.

I certainly hope that the teacher dude did not actually say that while he was laying at the bottom of the steps, paralyzed and in pain, he could not 'attract' anybody. Perhaps a better choice of words would have been 'contact' anybody.

Thank the Gummi Mary, those insurance agents 'heard Rauch crying for help and call 911.' I know I shift tenses at inopportune times, but even I know that they called 911.

This next part puzzles me. "I'd hate to think how I would be, because I was nearly driven to the edge of madness," says Rauch. Hm...was he nearly driven to madness, or was he driven to the edge of madness, or was he actually, as the quote states, nearly driven to the edge of madness? Because that does not seem too serious in my book. Nearly driven to the edge. I nearly drove to the edge of the creek when it was flooded, but since I didn't, I was perfectly safe.

Ain't life a b*tch? You spend 30 years perfecting the art of teaching, then you retire and break your neck and have an illiterate write a news story about you.


DeadpanAnn said...

Ain't life a b*tch? You spend 30 years perfecting the art of teaching, then you retire and break your neck and have an illiterate write a news story about you.

LOL Yes, that's a bitch.

The second paragraph of the article was the first one that made my eyes cross.

Whoever wrote this only needed to read through it out loud to find most of the mistakes. I think what happens sometimes is that there's a deadline to get things to print, and in the rush to meet the deadline a lot of proofreading and editing gets shrugged off. I witnessed this up close while working with an editor last month. The closer the deadline gets, the less they care. I heard things like, "Nobody will notice" more than once. That's true, I suppose. Nobody will notice. Nobody except for people who can read. Annnnnnd they're likely to be the ones READING it.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
WE noticed. And it IS all about US.

Stewed Hamm said...

Great Gummi Mary, I've seen bad grammar before, but (outside of e. e. cummings) never this bad from someone getting paid to create it. My favorite part is where he doesn't understand the difference between a paragraph and a sentence.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I'm really hoping the writer is not one of that teacher dude's students. Especially after Teacher Dude 'spent his life communicating.' As opposed to everyone else, mute and locked in silence, not even an Anne Sullivan to set them free.