Sunday, January 27, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Last week, after checking my voice mail, I received a hurried message from Chris. I could tell he was on speaker phone and there was quite a bit of joking going on in the background.

"Hey babe, it's me. I'm in a staff meeting right now and we are having a disagreement about some misplaced commas on a camp brochure. Will you call us back and settle the argument as soon as you can? In other words, I need your help in putting these fools to shame."

Well, at that point, there was no need to hear the question. Knowing my hubby all too well, this one was a no brainer. I immediately phoned back and without giving him time to even read the sentence to me, I confidently said, "The correct comma placement is opposite of wherever you think it should go."

Ouch. The cold, hard truth. Chris is guilty of committing Commacide, which I define as causing the untimely death of a meaningful sentence due to excessive comma overuse. And unfortunately, he is not a first time offender.

But I'd have to give him an A+ for confidence and tenacity.

He just wouldn't take no for an answer until the official reading of the question, but let's just say that it proved to be totally unnecessary as I had originally suspected. As my good natured hubby relayed his defeat, I heard spontaneous cheers erupt around the conference room and then the merciless razzing began.

Because if there is one place you can count on being called out, it's in a room full of pastors.

Which might explain Chris' need to prove his intellectual capabilities when he got home that night. Duped into watching Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, he kicked my tail in every math and science question from here to 4th grade. In between giving me the "I'll be the one to help Park with all his homework" look and asking the TV if, "That's all you got?", hubby was busy rubbing my nose in my inability to pull from childhood knowledge. Just as he was about to take a victory lap around the living room, he challenged me to a final question on geography.

"What's the capitol of Pennsylvania?"

Big mistake, buddy. Don't mess with me on my states and capitals. Pops did a stellar job on drilling these into my head like nobody's business. Now if only we could figure out what happened in the multiplication table department. Obviously flashcards were not my love language.

"Harrisburg," I counter, but loose a little confidence when I hear the snorts coming from hub's direction across the couch.

"Harrisburg?? That's your final answer? Let me give you a hint, at least. It's long and it starts with the letter M," he manages to get out between belly laughs.

Searching my brain while eliminating choices orally, I say "OK-I know it can't be Montpelier because that's the capital of Vermont.... So, maybe..."

About this time I see the color drain from his cheeks and I start to smell the aroma of his defeat.

After letting loose with a victory dance that would put Beyonce to shame, I placed a comforting arm around hubby and attempted to help him recover some pride.

"Look on the bright side, Chris. Park's still 4 years away from kindergarten and yet we've already established a division of labor for helping him with schoolwork. Math and science are all you, but just leave history and English up to me."

Because according to laws made in our state's capital (which would be AUSTIN, sweet hubby) there can only be one Commacidal Maniac per household.

And we've already reached our quota.


Stacey said...

I LOVED this post. How funny! I am in the same shoes as you...I love English, but he would smoke me at History.

The "commacide" is hilarious!

God bless!

Stacey @

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

I am SO the grammer nazi at my house too!

fullheartandhands mama said...

I loved this post!

My fear of commacide (and grammarcide)kept me from blogging for a long time. I'm always worried about someone finding a big error on a post. I'm slowly getting over it.

Again, great post!

fullheartandhands mama said...

It seems appropriate that I would have a typo in the first comment I left. Ha!

Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

Not to worry Fullheartandhands Mama! Even Grammarians have typos. Plus, I firmly believe that each blogger has the right to make up their own laws of punctuation for their individual site:)