Everyone has something they geek out over. Maybe something you don’t think other people care much about so you try to keep it under wraps most times. And then you unexpectedly encounter a kindred spirit, causing you to burst free from your constraints and revel in the moment of solidarity.
That happens to you, right?
Well, it happened to me recently. A co-worker stopped by my office and asked, “Do you ever get bothered by all the signs around here that say ‘Everyone must scan your badge‘?”
He didn’t get much further than “Everyone must” before I was jumping up and down, pointing at him, and saying “Yes! Yes! Oh, my goodness, yes! Those signs drive me crazy!”
“I mean,” he said, “I’m looking around thinking, ‘how many times do I have to hand out my badge so that everyone else can scan it?'”
“I thought the same thing! And I always wanted to say something to someone but I thought most people wouldn’t get it so I never have.”
“Well… that’s why I came to you. I knew you’d understand.”
“You definitely made the right call,” I said, still on a bit of an adrenaline rush that someone else had been bothered by the signs and said something to me. “If you had said something to Tony, he would have just given you a blank look or rolled his eyes and made a disparaging remark.”
“I mean,” I continued, “it’s a tricky problem, right? Because ‘Everyone’ means…”
“That it should be ‘his or her badge’ – I know,” he jumped in. “And that’s awkward on a sign but it’s still what’s right.”
“I’ve often thought about how they could reword it. I’d prefer ‘You must always scan your badge’.”
“Me too. Just say ‘Scan your badge! Every time!”
I don’t know how it is with other flavors of geeks, but having a moment with a fellow grammar geek can make a person’s day. And really, the world would be a better place if every establishment identified a grammar-geek-on-call that would be contacted before any text was committed to a sign or any other official or permanent communication.