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A "Dear Target" Letter. On Words, Their Meaning, and Why a Little Attention to Detail Could be Enough to Change the World

A "Dear Target" Letter. On Words, Their Meaning, and Why a Little Attention to Detail Could be Enough to Change the World

Dear Target - 

Walking through your store last night took these feet on the usual tiled (more likely linoleum - that's not a knock - don't ever feel that these words respect you less than Wal*Mart) paths - stop in for office supplies for the bookhaus, wander down the back alleys with a grocery list as per the request of Mama Bird, drift over to the clearance racks for possible clothing for The Little Man.

That's the way of it - a 10pm driftwood of life - a slow meander up against the "Attention Target shoppers / patrons / customers the time is now 10:45 and your friendly local / neighborhood / Bethel Target will be closing in fifteen minutes"...although how often the imagination takes over into the honest reality when the speaker ought say, "Pssshhhht.....hey you, yeah...you....the one who is trying on ten pieces of clothing at ten-fifty-three p.m. - we're closing in seven minutes and we've got a hot party to get to so get out of the store and come back tomorrow, k thnx?" 

To put this out there, we are fans of the Harajuku Mini line.  Granted, as vegans, the hamburger logo might have to kowtow to being a veggie-burger in our minds, but suffice to say that there was no clothing so grand for our legs and arms when nineteen months was counted on these fingers and toes.

The kids these days - no izod brown-blue-aqua-green striped shirts for them!  Can they appreciate, yet, just how much better off they are for it when the noose-goose of school-uniform specters are coming back around and claiming that different clothing is a disruption to the learning environment because it creates want from those less able to afford?  Word of advice - teach less attachment to stuff rather than limiting individualism, please.  At least, that's what The Little Man is striving for - although we're still really just working on sharing.

Color the storyteller disappointed then when an adorable little shirt, caught the eye, and the five charming animals playing instruments in a rock and roll band were labeled as:

"The Mini's"

The Mini's what?

The Mini's shirt?  The Mini's song?  The Mini's clothing line?  The Mini's...

The Mini's have claim on ownership of what exactly?

For you must see what the point is, herein - not simply that there's no possible way that The Little Man is going to strut around in a punctuationally challenged shirt no matter the charming factor being about an eight-point-five...but that even you, Target, the red bull's eye (not bullseye) like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and nearly the entire internet, have decided that the role of Editor is a throwback to a time when not everybody who had a keyboard had access to a loudspeaker, and that spell-check should certainly suffice to catch any and all errors that might flow forth from the freewheelin' finger flurry of fastidious yet frantic four-hundred-word essays of frugality.

Thus, these services are offered to you.

And yes, you can read this and say "Oy, another grammar police officer" but hear this out as to why there is such importance in this very moment that you immediately begin to grow your editorial staff.  And don't worry, not all comments require such innuendo, and most of the hiring and seeking of caring letterers can even be done, right here, from home, without having to travel the world over in search of the underground clubs where illicit copies of Strunk & White are quoted before the red pens bleed across the page of Write Club.

***

Harken back to 2006 and a headhunter emailed with the following line:

"if you yourself are interested and either work directly for Apple or a re-seller of Apple please know we respect our companies non-complete claus"

Non-complete claus?

Did somebody leave Santa, half-dressed and without his suspenders?  Did he inadvertently moon somebody as he slid out the fireplace post-chimney descent?

Let's not even mention "companies".

Apple, notorious for their attention to detail, would have flipped two lids.

***

Once, an email missive was missiled from this keyboard, subject line: "Do you have any editors?"

Written in the email was:

In a recent AP article about a teddy bear museum, the following sentence appears:

"Barney ripped the head off a brown stuffed bear once owned by the young Presley during the attack, leaving fluffy stuffing and bits of bears' limbs and heads on the museum floor."

So, what you are telling us, as readers, is that Presley owned the bear during the attack?

Irony being the response was:

"Thank you for writing The Associated Press.  You can inquire about employment for editorial, administrative or technical positions by writing to AP’s Human Resource department.  A cover letter and resume should be sent to the address below."

***

In a grocery store near where we once resided in Houston TX, over the deli section a giant sign read "Meatz" in a hip-happening-now font-style-gaphic-deigner-un-reigned-in style.

Cover the eyes of the children who will have explainingz to dues when they miz-spell thingz on their spelling testz.

***

There's an internet meme going around:

A teacher asks his students to punctuate this sentence: "Woman without her man is nothing." 

The men all write, "Woman, without her man, is nothing."

The women all write, "Woman! Without her, man is nothing!"

***

Forgot fourth grade lessons on yellow paper?  That's fine.  Understandable even.  It isn't like riding a bike or a skill used every day...or is it?  It was used every day when one sat to read a book every night.  Although as self-publishing rises high, and rarely does one crack the cover and see an editor credited, it may be that in the pages of a Lulu there is more harm to be found, than good.

(As an aside, we run a small press too, but last time the Mama Bird pointed out a typo that made it to print, it took lots of chocolate to convince me to not throw myself upon a card catalog card-holding spear.)

Yet know that in all of this banter and humor and underlying seriousness, the grammar is not the important part of this equation.  What does ring and resonate is the wish that the world would simply, ever so wishingly, (using two of the three wishes given by the genie in this bottle that was purchased tonight, also at Target, claiming to have Iced Chai inside - but lucky this writer that instead a genie had gotten into the works at the bottling plant...for some folks only get mice in their beverages or flies in their soup)... 

...have an editor...for having an editor shows that you care.  Shows attention to detail.  That there is a concern for what represents you.  Help us to teach The Little Man how to properly write words (and not cast him into the future-abyss where auto-correct is the only reason he can win a spelling bee or three like his old man).

Words - they are how we communicate.  We are growing far less trained in the once-daily now growingly-mystical arts of communication.  Sure we speak...we still tell stories.  But so much of life cannot be distilled down to one-hundred-forty characters even if brevity is the soul of wit.  Our interactions with the written word begin to far outweigh the tango with the spoken word.  While novels seem to be gathering pixeldust on the shelves, the willingness to turn one's chest into billboard-a-rama grows.  If one is not going to sell shirts that have the entire first chapter of A Wrinkle in Time wrapped around the body, then at least make our willingness to buy into the discourse about identity vs. identifiable get past the cover - where there are mis-spelled words.

So, then, Target...after one thousand words of digression, experimentation, conversation, a hand offered out for connection, supplication, and supposition...would you consider hiring your first copy of a copy of a copy editor and paving the way for clearly readable sale signs, improved circulars, and paper towel price stickers that all measure per-unit price in the same measurement?  Would you lead the way in proposing that literacy comes from the ability to see words en masse and learn to repeat them over and over in ways that do not make adjectives and adverbs products as well?  Would you take a chance, and stand up, and say, "We're not going to cut this corner anymore!  You shouldn't either!  It is important that somebody read and re-read what each and every one of has written!  If not for grammar-sake then to at least make certain that the meaning comes across properly!  For nobody wishes to be misunderstood..."

Or, if none of the above, would you at least contact Harajuku Mini and Gwen Stefani and have them send The Little Man a reprinted shirt?

***************

If you've read this far, you must think, feel, wonder, posit...something....about what you have just read.  Even if it is but a greeting, leave a note at the bottom, to mark tangible trace that you were here.  The internet does not have to remain so impersonal.

Want to learn more about The Rooster's Crow...visit http://www.theroosterscrow.org

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