She seems nice enough at first glance. Most people tend to think of my wife as generous, loving, and kind. That is most likely due to the baby sweaters she knits. For years, just about every newborn we knew received a handcrafted, Smithsonian quality, custom-colored baby sweater from her. Her philosophy on knitting is if it can't be done to perfection … oh, no. There are no excuses. It can be done to perfection.
She is also an editor. My editor, to be precise. It is that penchant for perfection in the minutia that makes her a fantastic grammar editor. Unfortunately for her, I am a grammar slob. I love to tell the story. I love to write the story. I am not in love with all the rules of my native language. Consequently, my wife of these many decades is by default a grammar enforcement officer.
One of the great frustrations for me is that when I ask my wife to do a quick read through to see if I am connecting with the reader, she systematically edits her way through. I begin to wonder if I have completely missed the mark. I question my self worth. I ponder the universe. I rewrite the entire tome in my head. Then she says, “This first sentence has a problem.”
FIRST SENTENCE! I have reread this stupid thing fifty-three times waiting for you to do a quick read through!
Most of us know someone who is on the grammar police force. They catch our chronic misuses of the language and, at times, can be annoying in the process.
My wife is not like that. She's on the Grammar SWAT Team. When she makes a bust on a grammar crime, the door gets kicked in, the place gets teargassed, and everyone in the room ends up face down on the floor with their hands zip-tied behind their backs! Then everything gets searched and cataloged and there is no negotiating.
This makes her sound stern, militant, and somewhat autocratic. That's not really the case at all. I guess I just give her lots of material to work with. So, if you happen to think my wife is sweet and kind and would like to see her alter ego, just hand her something to proofread. But you had better have thick skin or be really in love with red pencil marks.