Monday, February 12, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

OP has lodged a complaint. Apparently, I don't write about him enough. So here, I offer you, my readers, an insight into one of my best friendships, with a "Praise and Profile" of OP.

OP and I met way back in June, during Orientation for our teaching program. He is also in the English cohort, and he is a fellow grammar-tyrant. We like to fix each other's (and everyone else's, but more quietly, so they don't have to hear us) grammar and discuss the proper usage of a semicolon. We also both enjoy procrastinating, stressing out, and trying to be perfect even though it's impossible. Sometimes we even feed off each other's procrastination and/or perfectionism, which is usually not good.

OP stands for "Ostrich Poo," because that's what people used to call him when he was a kid (it sounds kind of like his last name). His single greatest tactical error was ever telling me that fact, because I've never let him forget it since. Come on, y'all are with me on this, right? Ostrich Poo is just too funny to pass up. Say it out loud - "Ostrich Poo." I'm laughing just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, a while back, OP got sad that I laugh at him for his funny, funny name. So then I got sad and stopped calling him that. He claims he wants me to start it up again, because he secretly likes it when I call him Ostrich Poo, but I'm not sure if I should believe him. I don't call him Ostrich Poo much these days. Now, it's more common to hear me saying, "Pookie!" which I think bugs him even more than Ostrich Poo.

OP is like a brother to me. I'm not sure if he's more like a little brother or a big brother. Sometimes he's very protective of me, and he cares for me and gives me big bear hugs when I'm sad, and at those times, he's like a big brother. But other times, he's acting so immature, and I have to lecture him about his behavior and get him back to a modicum of normalcy, and then he's more like a little brother. Maybe we're like twins.

Charcoal - OP's girlfriend - can vouch for our sibling relationship. I don't just mean we're close friends, so I'll claim we're like siblings. I mean if you keep us in a car together for too long, you'll find yourself yelling, "Don't make me turn this car around, because I will!" He's been known to poke his finger next to my face yelling "I'm not touching you!" over and over again until I scream to Charcoal to make him stop. I've been known to punch him in the arm repeatedly when he says or does something I don't like, until he is willing to take it back. And just yesterday, he dragged me down to the floor to tickle me until I cried, while I fought back as hard as I could.

See, now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this is that friendly, harmlessly-flirtatious tickling, but you're wrong. This is the knock-down, drag-out, fight-to-the-death tickling, where he applies all his weight to keep me down, and I strategically aim my kicks at his genital region, so as to inflict the most damage. Eventually, I moved to aiming my teeth at his hand, whereupon he shouted, "She's trying to bite me!" to Charcoal, as if she would help him (because she's obviously on my side). What finally won me the fight was digging my nails into his fingers until he promised to let go. Then I released and he promptly started tickling me again, because he's a dirty, rotten cheat and liar.

He is also, as you can see from the pictures, a great fan of picking people up and spinning them around, just to prove he can. No matter how many times you tell him this is silly behavior that has no place in the workplace, he'll just keeping fooling you into getting tossed over his shoulder and spun around until you think you just might puke. Then he puts you down real suddenly so that you fall over. Good times.

But in all seriousness, I love OP to death. He's a friend near and dear to my heart, and I'm so grateful to have met him this year. We've had lots of good conversations, lots of fun hangings outs (yes, hangings outs), and even some good study sessions. I hope we stay friends for a long, long time, because as I get older and more senile, I will need someone there to correct my faltering grammar.


So here's what I'm thinking: This whole "Praise and Profile" thing? Maybe it'll become a regular segment of the blog. Biweekly maybe. What do you think?

And here's the other thing I was thinking: What friends do you love a lot? I challenge you all to do a "Praise and Profile" of your own. It can be anyone at all - just someone you think deserves some bloggy limelight for a while. And make sure to leave a link to your post in the comments, so I can read all about these wonderful people!

(I estimate only three people will actually do this. Anyone else want to take a guess?)


Anonymous said...

I LOVE this idea!! Definitely make 'P&Ps' a regular feature.

It's so funny: I was planning to do one later this week! Hope other people do, too.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post!

Now I'm going to get all nitpicky on your grammar b/c you delivered practically by singing courier a lacey invitation to do so.

"stopped calling me that" -> "stopped calling him that" (Ok, that's just a typo. But wait: it gets better.)

"don't just mean we're close friends" -> "don't mean just that we're close friends": Make sure your adverb is associated with the word or clause it is intended to qualify. Contrast your use of "just" here with that in "just to prove he can": in the latter case, "just" properly qualifies the infinitive "to prove", whereas in the former the word improperly qualifies the verb "mean" rather than the nominal subordinate clause "we're close friends".

Ok, I've had my fun.

Lara said...

ophelia - thanks for the typo notice; it has been fixed.

as for your second note: upon reading your comment, i have gone back, and the adverb is, indeed, modifying the verb intended. i don't *only* mean that we are close friends - i mean *more* than that, which is why i claim a sibling relationship. that means the "just" is in the correct place.

but thanks for playing. ;)

Anonymous said...

I disagree. You "mean", or convey information, without qualification. What you mean - what you have already written up to the sentence we're debating - in contrast, is not all that you wish to tell us and should be qualified accordingly. Consider my version of the sentence:

I do not mean only that ... but additionally that ... .

Consider how I qualify the verb "mean" in the following sentence:

I do not just quietly mean you're wrong and I'm right in this instance; I pound it furiously on my keyboard and pack my external frame backpack with sub-freezing camping equipment so that I can climb a tall mountain and scream the fact from the summit at sunrise.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ophelia the Adamant & Incorrect Ostrich,

I appreciate your zeal for the grammatical arts, but I must side with Lara. Okay, so I'm a little biased because she wrote a whole blog about me (not to mention that she is sitting right next to me right now). However, the use of Lara's adverb "just" can be justly substituted with the word "merely" (its intended meaning). Consequently, "just" should precede "mean".



Anonymous said...

P.S. Grammaticus is coming for you.

jittacatgirl said...

i side with lara, and not just cuz she's my kitties' faux mommy.

Anonymous said...

1. The first point in my first post is the most important: "Fantastic post!" Funny and touching. Lara, don't forget my compliment as I now gird myself to

2. continue my defense of our noble language against the indignity of misuse.

First I shall transform the sentence until we can view the syntactic artifact under scrupulous examination with ease. The word "mean" is a bit slippery I find. I shall replace it with "convey". OP suggests we substitute "merely" for "just". The sentence now reads: "I don't merely convey we're close friends." The negative is slightly distracting; as it is, I believe, irrelevant to our debate, I shall remove it. Let us also abstract the datum "we're close friends" with the representation 'D'.

The sentence is now: "I (merely convey) D"; I aver that what is meant is better represented by "I convey (merely D)." The parentheses group the adverb with the adverb's object. I prefer the second sentence because the uninteresting verb "convey" (or "mean") doesn't require qualification, whereas the interesting datum D does.

Here is an (awesome example) that I (fervently hope) (strongly supports) my ((incredibly (well-articulated)) view):

I don't (quickly deliver) (merely a lacey invitation); I deliver (additionally a bit of grammatical advice).

Anonymous said...

I like the P&P! Keep them coming. I'll try to do one on my blog too =)

Lara said...

ophelia - your first point is acknowledged and appreciated. keep in mind also that i like grammar, and enjoy discussing it, so i have no problem with this discussion.

that said, i can sum up my response to your most recent post in one simple statement: *i* aver that what is meant is better represented by "i (merely convey) D." and you know what? i'm the author, and this isn't an academic work set to be published. it's a personal piece of literature. which means when it comes down to it? i'm the one who gets final say on my intended meanings.

one other thing - when i'm writing these types of posts, i'm also generally representing how i speak. and i continue to hold to two facts: (1) that is my first instinct when i would go to say that sentence out loud, and (2) for the purposes of my own speech, i still believe it is correct.

now, let's all back to the point of the post, which is that OP's great, isn't he? ;)

Anonymous said...

Lara, you have committed a number of capitalization errors in the previous comment. For example, it is conventional to capitalize the first letter in a sentence.

Hee hee hee. Oh, my goodness, I really crack myself up sometimes. Oh, my. [Wipes laughter tears from eye with stubby wings.]

Juka said...

...and she dares call me a nerd?

Anonymous said...

That is lovely, the pictures are cracking me up.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

With a friend like OP, you are blessed indeed.

Dallas Blue said...



i give a big *pbthhhh* to grammar rules. it's blogging. get over it, grammar nazis! it's all about freedom of expression... yessssss.
this is an american blog afterall.

i heart you, lara. and now i'm going to eat some freedom fries in celebration of.... oh, whatever, i don't know. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think "Pookie" is a great new nickname because it has been tweaked and has become uniquely yours. While I have no blog of my own in which to praise others I will honor this practice by giving praises directly to co-workers and those I encounter daily. And, I laughed out loud at the comments here.

Dee said...

I love the P&P idea. I'm just trying to think of a subject for mine.

Still Jill B said...

Excellent Post, Excellent Banter...I think I know which 13 to use this week.

Anonymous said...

I think that this is one of my favorite entries of yours.

Thumbs up to P&Ps!

And also a big thanks for reminding me to call my own best-friend-brother-type to tell him I love him.

Mama said...

Lara - what a great post! Your writing style here is fantastic! And, it's a great idea. I'll be tuning in!

I'm a bit of a grammar guru myself (professionally, not on my blog). Personally, I think both you and Ophelia are correct. However, I prefer your sentence structure. It is more relaxed.



Lara said...

jen - i'm glad you liked the idea. i look forward to reading your planned P&P post later in the week. :)

ophelia - still glad you brought up the issue. i had fun discussing it, and it seems that at least some people had fun reading it too. always appreciate your thoughts.

OP - thanks for the backup, grammaticus. also, lots of people seem to think you're a totally cool dude. it's a good thing i'm so good at lying. ;) just kidding!

jitta - apparently, as time goes on, i'm becoming one of the kitties' real mommy... :-P

tali - glad you liked it! i hope you do one on your blog so i can read about your friends, too. :)

justin - you ARE a nerd, nerd. but that doesn't mean i and any number of other people aren't nerds, too.

aly - yeah, the pictures are classic OP. we have fun times. :)

california teacher guy - yes, and i totally realize how blessed i am with a friendship like his. he's a wonderful guy.

sassy - again i say, though, that i like grammar discussions, blog or no. i just eventually give up on them when it's not an academic thing. :) hope the freedom fries were good!

mom - yep, pookie is working well. i also like that he has so quickly learned to answer to it. and i'm glad you're taking the P&P practice out into the real world. that might be even better than doing it online.

dee - given what a great lady i know you to be, i'm sure you have tons of great friends to use as subjects. i look forward to reading. :)

jill b - glad you enjoyed the banter. :) i'm looking forward to the 13!

teacher jane - thumbs up to your thumbs up! and i'm glad i could remind you to call your friend.

jo - i'm glad you enjoyed it, and glad to know you'll be tuning in. :)

Amanda said...

So seriously, not to suggest that you shouldn't write posts when you're blue or hold off on the contemplative you photos...but damn sweets, you light up a room when you smile. You seriously transformed this harried mama from frazzled to hopeful.

Lara said...

amanda - lady, you are so sweet. thank you very much. it's nice, probably, to remind myself that i can, in fact, still find smiles sometimes. :)

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