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Me, Myself, and I


Hi. Shea here. I am going to risk a rather prosaic opening (but to what will be, after all, an enterprise of prose, so at least there is an odd appropriateness to it). Matt Cone has invited me—he bought me lunch to clinch it!—to write an occasional column for Macinstruct. Needless to say I was flattered and, flattery going a long way with me, here I sit—at my Mac, of course—about to introduce myself, explain myself, perhaps even proleptically defend myself.

After all, you ought to know who you’re getting and what you’re getting. And please don’t point out to me that it should be “whom you’re getting.” Just don’t, ok? I am a well-buttoned grammarian, but I’m also a stylist. More on that later. Maybe.

All right, why me? Because Matt was a student of mine at UNM. It says here in my grade book that he took both my classical tropes course and my prose style course. I do remember him now, a comely lad in the back row. On the quiet side, but what he did say or write was often witty, or at least half-witty. And I guess he liked what he heard from Shea twice a week and the way that Shea said it. So here I am and, Matt, I thank you and hope you don’t regret it.

My first protest to Matt as I worked my way through the double-meat gyro was “Much as I love my Mac, what business do I have writing for Macinstruct? I am no techie. If anything I am a techno-idiot and perversely, boorishly, proud of it.”

“Not to worry, Shea,” says he. “You can write about anything you damn well please. Of shoes or ships or sealing wax [ok, he didn’t say that; I did; I mean Lewis Carroll did and I just swiped it]. I’d like a weekend column that gives some relief from all the tech columns that I hope to publish.” So I’m thinking antidotal anecdotes. Or perhaps that’s anecdotal antidotes. Anyway, what a relief! Anything I want! Such honeyed words to a garrulous old fart like me! And I do think the world needs more garrulous old farts.

So there you (will) have it. There may be some reminiscences: I’m pushing sixty-five, children, and it’s time I started emptying the hopper. There may be some petulant Andy Rooneyish fulminations (Do we really need cars that can park themselves? I mean, what’s with THAT?), but I will try not to out-Rooney Rooney: at my age I don’t need any more self-inflicted wounds. There might be some teacher stuff (a celebration of the semi-colon? when you can write “who you’re getting” instead of “whom you’re getting”? winning friends with tropes?) . Although the first pages I turn to in the paper are the ed and op-ed, I will probably—probably—spare you my well-considered political opinions (you’re welcome) since we have a glut of those already. I am a marathon runner and a choral singer (bass), although both my legs and my voice are on a downhill slide. Nonetheless, you might hear about one or both from time to time (singing a marathon, running a requiem). I drive a ‘99 Miata (the Little Red Beast) and often the drive home is the best part of my day. I am a cancer survivor.

Jeez, I am one tough old bird come to think of it! Now we’ll see if I am tough enough to write a column a week and not have you good folk throw (figurative) rotten fruit at me. Incidentally, if there is something on your mind, something you would like to tackle with me (or tackle me with), I am open to it. My email address is shea@macinstruct.com.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking lately about chronos and kairos. I bet you have, too, so.....


Meet Your Macinstructor

Jerome Shea is an emeritus professor of English at the University of New Mexico, where he still teaches his classical tropes course every fall and his prose style course every spring. He has been the Weekend Wonk since January of 2007. His email is shea@macinstruct.com.


 
                          





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