It’s the truth.  I am surrounded by nuts.

In a mere fifteen minutes, three family members (of which I was one) simultaneously quoted from The Princess Bride, discussed the famous mathematics/topography problem of the Seven Bridges as it applied to quilting (still stuck . . . must cross one bridge twice, dang it!), and debated the difficult grammar concept of “farther verses further” (agreed further always sounds better) as it applies to time, which can be both a theoretical construct and concrete measurement of “distance.”*  To top it all off, my father’s Parthian shot ended the fifteen minutes on the classic note of the pronunciation of “either.”

Have I lost you yet?

I hope not.

You see, my family is awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this conversation.  I think it’s hilarious that I, somehow, managed to be the only geekly English major of the family with these as my surroundings.  I also am ever so grateful that in a family full of nerd science majors, I can still be intellectually challenged in my area during casual conversation.  But the whole of this conversation began and ended because I live in a peanut gallery.  My father began quoting The Princess Bride because I jokingly complained that moving the couch back to its original position was simply unfair.  It ended with my father correcting my pronunciation (oh, is he ever a pronunciation Nazi–these debates are common in my house and often end in us going to an online dictionary with sound bytes of the pronunciation).

It’s a fun life, most of the time.  Sometimes the peanut gallery goes too far, and a family member quite suddenly retreats to the silence of his/her room.  The running commentary must be run from once in a while, to maintain sanity.  Also, so that we can recharge our own supply of replies. >)  We are a devious bunch.

This may be a complaint.  It may be a comment.  It may be a celebration.  I don’t really know.  What I do know is that I can expect to debate the necessity of grammar in spoken communication with my linguist sister until I am blue in the face.  I know that my father and I will always pronounce “dour” differently, secure in the knowledge that we are both correct.  I know that my little brother pretends not to care, but is still the boy who respectfully informed his principal that the incorrect grammar of the school posters was embarrassing the school, and asked (and received) permission to change some of the worst offenders.  I know that my friends will always torture me with homonyms since my reaction amuses them so.  I know that I will rant and rave about “affect verses effect” several times more, and my family will roll their eyes.  Again.  And I know that I will forever live in a peanut gallery, sometimes an active participant, other times the subject of ridicule.

You know what, though?  It’s super cool.  Because I get to say things like, “I’m dealing with a Seven Bridges problem here” while staring fixedly at my quilt.  Because I can quote, “Life is pain, Highness.  Anyone who says differently is selling something” and expect the just inexact unison of other voices quoting along with me.  Because I can use the phrase “Parthian shot.”  Because, even as a misfit among misfits, I belong.

We’s all peanuts here.





*To clarify the rule:  Farther applies to concrete terms, like physical distance.  “He went farther down the road.”  Further applies to metaphysical/theoretical terms.  “Now if we further apply this line of thinking, we find ourselves confronted with a fallacy of our own making.”  Since time is both a fantasy (the future) and a fact (the past), this makes it–to use the technical term–a very wishy-washy area.  Hooray for grammar minutia!