ImageThis is what my e-mail looks like:

"Thanks for the e-zine. It certainly sounds like you know what you're talking about and have a great take on it. I was almost afraid to write because of using the wrong punctuation."

"Here's that thing you wanted to read. I didn't send it earlier because it still has typos/grammar issues in it."

"I hope you can come to my opening. I'll send you the info (and you can send it back with red markings on the grammatical errors)."

Am I really such a monster?

Granted, on my more misanthropic days, I'm certain that those who use "overwhelm" as a noun are people of low character. Yes, I have been known to correct a nephew when he says, "Teddy Plotnick and me caught a grasshopper today." And if a client consistently mixes a certain metaphor in his e-mails, I will gently point it out to him. But note the word "client" there. The fact is, I won't point out your errors unless you ask me to, unless you are paying me to do it.

I heed my forebears' admonitions not to correct my elders, and I extend that to my peers. I have a girlfriend who regularly uses the non-word "supposibly." I may cringe inwardly whenever I hear it, but I'd never embarrass her by mentioning it. One of my most cherished and frequent correspondents willfully denies the existence of capital letters. Has she heard from me about it? No.

And, though I'm loath to admit it, I make mistakes, too (however, I want you to correct me – not that you have to take so much pleasure in it). I'll never forget one particular whopper. It was 1998. I was working on the bio for Hole's Celebrity Skin. Under intense deadline pressure, the crack clouding my faculties, I made reference to Fleetwood Mac's classic album Rumours Рbut, ugly American that I am, I left out the second "u."
Am I really such a monster?
The bio was issued to 5,000 press outlets with the title of one of the best known albums in history spelled "Rumors." O! the ignominy. How it stings, even to this day. And if you think that's evidence of how I need to move on, don't get me started on the high school paper I wrote on medieval games in which I misspelled "feudal" each and every time.

I remember these stumbles when I spot errors in other people's writing. I see my foibles in them, and I feel compassion.

On a more earthly plane, I really don't have time to reflect, let alone comment, on the shortcomings of your e-mail. I'm just happy to hear from you.