Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Out of the Closet

I was picking up some take-out Chinese food for dinner, and the guy told me that it would take about fifteen minutes. So, to pass the time, I headed over to the Ross Dress for Less a few doors down to browse. I started flipping through the dresses, and I came upon this really cute one. It was kind of a 1940s silhouette made from a pretty nice material. I flipped over the price tag, because that’s the first thing I always do, and I couldn’t believe my eyes: 49 cents. A super cute dress for 49 cents! Of course, I bought it. When I got home, I bragged to my husband about my fabulous find and he was less than thrilled. “But, it was only 49 cents,” I explained. “It’s not the money,” he said. “There’s no room in the closet!”

He’s totally right; there is no room in the closet. I have so many clothes. I love buying clothes. I love receiving clothes. I just love clothes. I love them so much it’s hard for me to get rid of them. I try cleaning out my closet, but it’s usually not all that cleansing. (But overalls might come back into style. But I wore that on our first date. I might contract mono and lose five pounds and fit into those again. I should save that dress for the daughter I don’t have). I know that my hoarding is completely counter-productive. When I do clean out my closet (or try to), I always rediscover awesome clothes I forgot I had because they were sandwiched between an unworn t-shirt I won two years ago at a work raffle and a faded black top.

As much as I love clothes, I love the written word. I love reading, I love writing, I love words. However, unlike clothes from my closet, I relish cutting superfluous words out of my and my students’ writing. It’s so satisfying to clean out sentences. It makes the writing so much stronger and the really great words stand out so much more. So, imagine my excitement when I ran across this sentence while grading:

The reason why pot should be legal is because we can tax it and raise money.

(Sure, that’s why she wants it to be legal.)

This sentence is so exciting because there are at least two words I can cut.

The definition of why is the reason for, so I don’t need both reason and why. Let’s cut why, leaving us with:

The reason pot should be legal is because we can tax it and raise money.

But, because also means the reason for, so again I am doubling up on the word reason. You know what that means? We also get to cut because:

The reason pot should be legal is we can tax it and raise money.

Or, we can cut reason and keep because:

Pot should be legal because we can tax it and raise money.

Or, we can cut the crap and be honest:

Pot should be legal because then I wouldn’t have to rely on my dodgy dealer.

More blogs I have been enjoying:

Georgina Dollface: Her writing is both hilarious and beautiful.

Substitute Teacher's Saga: This is an amazingly funny post about family.

Wendy Ramer- On 'n On 'n On: For some reason I can't link directly to the post, but her June 24 post nails the torment of bathing suit shopping.


Wendy Ramer said...

I read that sentence and right away wanted to cut "why" and "because". But you went the better step forward and cut "the reason". Yes, a more succinct sentence that makes for a bold argumentative thesis statement. (Albeit bullshit)

j.m. neeb said...

You hit the nail on the head with the final version! I'm just hoping you don't teach second grade... :)

No One Reads The Copy said...

I love clothes and words too! My two favorite things. I think we're soul sisters.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I'm the same way about clothes! I love buying, hate giving away. Except I get a nice happy feeling when the closet is more bare, and my mom is less willing to buy me clothes when all my hangers are occupied. :D
But cutting words doesn't thrill me. It depresses me, because I always use too many, and have so much work to do cutting them out. *sigh*

Talli Roland said...

But 49 cents! You can find room... come ON! :)

Diane J. said...

Love the final version, hee, hee, hee.

49 cents! Dang, I have room in my closet, you want me to hold some clothes for you?

WalksLikeAnEgyptian said...

Great post. Great links.

Georgina's Urban Jungle post was really moving, the family post was too true - I especially liked the part about being too good for the family... inwardly, and I JUST had my bathing suit nightmare extravaganza recently. My self esteem was in shambles. Shambles, I say.

10/10 once again!

Anonymous said...

That was an awesome ending, right before the shout out, which then made it even more lovely! Thank you, such a nice surprise! Happy Fourth of July! **waves a sparkler** - G

JMay said...

omg, you and me both!

When you say words, does that include words with friends too ;-)


Janet Johnson said...

Awesome deal on the dress! I have a hard time getting rid of clothes, too. So I haven't worn that in years . . . I MIGHT! ;)

But I agree. I love cleaning up sentences. Gives me a thrill.

notesfromnadir said...

I know that feeling about finding clothes I'd forgotten I even had wedged in between things I rarely wear! Yes, I love clothes, but admit to loving books even more.

Theresa Milstein said...

Great post for many reasons.

I like the photo because that scene in the movie was so funny. Your closet sounds like mine and, "I might contract mono and lose five pounds and fit into those again," sounds similar to my justification for keeping clothing. I would NEVER pass up a good 49-cent find.

Your grammar lesson had me laughing.

And then you provided a link to my post. Thanks!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Purging both clothes and cluttering words can be liberating. Keep on cuttin'!

Boonsong said...

49 cents makes sense....
Re Pot: Presidentially speaking, I've puffed but never inhaled.
It could be a good source of revenue. I'd legalise it for that reason alone.

Have a nice day, Boonsong

squirrelmama said...

We sure could use you on the copy desk at our newspaper! I love the economy of language (as opposed to the "national economy") and you clearly know how to balance your books, where words are concerned! Thanks for an entertaining post.

Cashon&Co said...

okay, i am so glad i found your blog! how refreshing and interesting! as a former teacher (who lasted mid-year and quit...seriously) I was laughing as i was reading this. i am forwarding to another of my friend ASAP, although she probably already follows you. she will love this blog, as she is a teacher (and former Jeopardy! contestant) who taught a LOT longer than i did. hahahha

Samantha Bennett said...

Trimming sentences is so satisfying! I don't find pruning plants nearly as much fun. :)

Culture Served Raw said...

Ah, you always make teaching sound so fun! You should write a series about your students, they would certainly make some funny characters!