I apologize; puns are rife in my family. They are just part of my life. Maybe that’s why I actually like Shakespeare. In any case, I am convinced that I need to start today with a classic joke:
Why this joke? Why now? One reason: the prevalence of senseless violence in my students’ writing. Really. Senseless. In a descriptive essay, a student described a store. The description included this little gem: “Some whippys if you wanted to whip your cart before entering.” Now, why would you want to whip the poor inanimate object? And before it has done anything, good or bad! Maybe…maybe it would be acceptable to whip your cart during its tenure with you, or afterward, if it has a particularly bad wheel or dumps all your groceries, but before?
Senseless, gratuitous violence. That’s all it is. I can’t see a justifiable reason for whipping a cart before using it. Why would anyone want to? I can’t even think of any popular video games where they use whips. The only popular movie with whips I can think of is Indiana Jones, and those movies are all old, to my students. Whips. Go figure.
Okay, yes. I totally get it. The student meant “wipes” to wipe the germs off the cart. That opens up a whole different rant. Why are we so germophobic? Granted, I don’t want to go back to the Shakespearean level of knowledge about germs, when old age was far too young, but good golly! People now are so paranoid about germs that they regularly use antibiotics and kill off all the good little beasties living in their guts. If they are concerned about “superviruses” it’s with good reason. If you kill off all germs before you come into contact with them, you won’t have any immunity when you finally do come into contact with something.
My opinion is this: If you are going to use a shopping cart, use it. Only if there is something visibly nasty on it do you probably need to clean it off. Work on building and maintaining your health some way besides being scared of the germs. They are a part of life. Make peas with the germs, people. Or whip them. Sometimes there’s a place for violins.