I have Back to School Night tonight. Actually, I have two Back to School Nights tonight, but I’m only going to one of them, because I’m only one person. My husband is going to the other one, because he’s another person. Together, we are two people going to two Back to School Nights, separately.

I wonder how many other parents find Back to School Night kind of creepy. You’re not supposed to be at school when it’s not in session. It’s just not natural.

Speaking of going back to school, I got a note home from Girlfriend’s principal today. Not a personal note, thank goodness. No, just a form note. A full-fledged letter, actually. Took up a whole page, practically. Twelve-point Times Roman. Possibly 11-point. Anyway. The note–the letter–was just about how they’re going to hire a new first-grade teacher because the principal sat back and thought, “Dude, 37 first-graders per class is just not cool.” I appreciate that. I appreciate that he’s letting us know, too. Would have been awesome if someone had had that thought before school started, but, you know, better late than never. I’m hoping Girlfriend doesn’t lose any friends to the new class. (I’m not dumb enough to think she’s going to get the new teacher. We’ve been over this before.) But that’s neither here nor there. What concerns me is that the principal wrote in the letter that he was concerned about the first graders, “whom are at key stages of developing literacy and a foundation of skills needed for academic success.”

I was going to tell you that I’m really not a big grammar Nazi, but the longer I went on the more it seemed like I was protesting too much. Maybe being a grammar Nazi is like being pregnant. You either are or aren’t; you can’t be it just a little. I don’t know. I think that’s in the eye of the beholder. I would call six to eight weeks “a little pregnant.” Maybe my grammar Nazi is a little grammar Nazi, but when it comes out, it is one mean goose-stepping bastard because OMG YOU NEVER EVER SAY “WHOM ARE”–NEVER! NOT “WHOM IS,” NOT “WHOM WAS, NOT “WHOM WERE”! NONE OF THESE IS CORRECT AND THERE IS NEVER EVER ANY REASON FOR THINKING IT IS OKAY TO SAY SUCH THINGS! NEVER!

[Catching my breath]

Seriously, though–now that I’m calm again–there should probably be a law that forbids you from using the word “whom” unless you have a license that certifies you can do so responsibly. I don’t know why this bothers me so much. I can listen to someone say, “Me and him did such-and-such” and “I ain’t never did nothing” all day long, but using “whom” incorrectly is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. It’s right up there with saying “myself” when you really mean “me.” (Helpful hint: no one else can ever give anything to yourself. It’s physically impossible. Only you can give something to yourself. Remember that. It will serve you well.) I should really be more tolerant. I think of myself as a very tolerant person–too lazy, most of the time, to be intolerant–but now I’ve just outed myself as a very intolerant person on the “whom” issue. It’s bad enough when people say it out loud, but when they put it in writing–gah! It’s just so wrong!

Maybe because “whom” is a word that already sounds snotty when you use it correctly, so when you use it incorrectly, you sound like a pretentious ignoramus. Why is a pretentious ignoramus worse than a regular ignoramus? Because he doesn’t know how much smarter I am than he is. I’m just kidding. (Maybe.) I don’t know why. I just know that this misuse of “whom” has to stop before non-grammar Nazis start saying, “eh, who, whom–who cares?” (Or, knowing them, “whom cares?” ::shudder:: ) This cannot happen!

To redeem my grammar snobbery, I will make devote this part of the blog to a public service announcement. Two rules:

1. Don’t use whom where you wouldn’t use him/her/them/us.

2. If you’re not 100% certain you should say “whom,” just say “who.” Chances are, you’ll be correct. And if you’re not correct, you’ll only sound like you don’t give a crap about correct grammar, not like you care about good grammar but not enough to learn it.

You’re welcome.

And now I have to go watch TV with my husband, who is one of my favorite people with whom to watch TV.

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