MOULTRIE — Today someone sent me an email and asked if I didn’t know that “internet” was supposed to begin with a capital “i”. My answer is yes, I know that someone has said that we are supposed to do that.
But typically I don’t. To be blunt, I don’t see any need to capitalize the “i” in internet. You see internet is a communications medium. So are the telephone and telegraph. We don’t capitalize either of them. Internet is also a tool for many of us. And so is a screwdriver. We don’t capitalize screwdriver.
I don’t know who decided that we should capitalize the “i” in internet. It may have been a committee. I’ve seen committees that really had nothing better to do, so I think that may be a strong possibility. They had earlier decided which side of the plate the fork and knife should go on and that a woman shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. So while waiting on the doughnuts to arrive, someone put a capital “I” on internet. There was a unanimous vote, and it was shipped out that very day and accepted by many as gospel.
As you can see, I deal with some really heavy stuff some days. I could have discoursed on the Zimmerman/Martin case, but I wasn’t there. I didn’t see anything, and I won’t be called as a witness in that case, so I really don’t have a strong opinion about it.
Or I could have pontificated on why gas prices keep going up, but that wouldn’t have made a whole column. Let me put it another way. I could write “because they can” on a post-it note. Any other verbiage attached to that issue would be a waste of time and space.
Now someone will say that no one cares whether “internet” is capitalized or not. But people do notice little things like that, especially retired English teachers. I often get reprimanded in this venue.
Let me give you an example. I once referred to “kitty litter” in a news story. I got a letter shortly afterward from a company that explained to me that these words should be capitalized with a trademark symbol. Basically they corrected me and told me to go and sin no more. I got a little huffy about the whole thing, so for future reference I just changed the wording to cat litter.
By the way, did you know that Twitter is a trademark? But you can say “everyone was all a twitter” and you are not in trademark domain. Or you can refer to a “little twit” without acknowledging such officialdom.
A few times I was advised not to end a sentence with a preposition. But that’s a rule I don’t pay much attention to.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do think we need rules and guidelines. Some are more important than others. Over time, though, we realize that some were ill founded, and we abandoned them either through some process of trial and error or some official act declaring them null and void.
I recall that back in grade school we were told that it was dangerous to eat fish and drink milk in the same meal. I have no idea where that came from, but it proved false. Maybe we didn’t get all the message. Maybe what they said was that it was dangerous to eat fish and drink milk while running with a pair of scissors. But it was never an issue for me anyway because I was lactose intolerant. Besides, I like ice tea with my fish.
Now the rule about not drinking Nyquil while operating a bulldozer probably will hold valid for ages to come. That’s never been an issue with me, but I could see where something could go awry there. In fact, I probably shouldn’t even drink milk and operate a bulldozer.
Strangely, there is no such warning on a bottle of Jack Daniels. Go figure.
Now I guess I should deal with at least one “heavy” subject in this scribbling. On that note, my diet is going rather well.
Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer. He can be reached at 985-4545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.