I don’t even remember the original thought (or most likely annoyance) that sparked this post, but I sure as hell remember all the stuff that came flooding into my mind in the several days afterwards. Being an English Major has it’s pros, definitely; you’re most likely 100% better read than 100% of your friends, you are the one they come to when they need a word spelled, or have the question, “Hey, you would know. Do you remember who wrote ______?” And you, the literary angel of destiny, can bless them with the correct answer. But being an English major has many inimical (if you’re an English major or took the GRE in the last three years, you’ll know that word by heart) conditions as well, and here are just several that I encounter on a day to day basis.
- The various awfully contrived jokes surrounding the stereotype of “Getting a degree in Young Adult Literature is the same as throwing 40G into the flaming mouth of Mount Doom.” My brother is the main perpetrator of this gauntlet of cruelty; my favorite of his repertoire thus being, “The scientist asks, “Why does it work?”The engineer asks, “How does it work?”The English major asks, “Would you like fries with that?”
Hilarious Wilson, hilarious. Oh, and on this note, yes, I was an English major. No, I do not want to be a teacher. Ever.
- Reading anything misspelled or using improper grammar will bother me. Immensely. For example, my roommate uses a ridiculously good-smelling shampoo from Organix (awapuhi ginger, if you’re interested. Seriously, that shit smells amazing). But my problem lies with what was written on the front of the freaking bottles. I quote, “Indulge in a lavish, moisturizing creamy formula infused with the Hawaiian beauty secret of nutrient rich awapuhi ginger extract to instantly mend and soften dry, coarse hair while stimulating the scalp with freshness, rich keratin proteins fortify each strand creating restored, soft, strengthened hair from the inside out.” That is a run-on sentence if I ever saw one. I can no longer look at those shampoo bottles in our bathroom without being filled with an acute sense of paranoia and shame, AND THAT IS JUST NOT HOW I WANT TO FEEL DURING MY SHOWER.
- Feeling alone and outdated when I make references to books that no one in their right mind has ever read, ever. Outside of English majors. Inversely, when I make references to books that people only recognize because it was made popular through some pop-culture reference. *face palm*
- Being a little too over-protective of the books that I let people borrow from me. “MY GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE SPINE OF THIS BOOK?!?!?” This includes dogeared pages (only I am allowed to do that to my books), smudges, weird indents on the cover, and god forbid you underline or pencil anything in the margins.
- On a related note, being “that friend” who lets someone borrow a book, and then hounds/pesters them from now till eternity about it. “How do you like it so far? What chapter are you on? What page are you on? Has this happened yet? Have you been introduced to this character? I just love the authors use of tone, don’t you? Oh my goodness the best part is coming up, you’ll be up all night reading!” etc. And trust me, once you’ve become that friend, there’s no going back.
- Your standards for dating/having friends has been ruined irrevocably. When you receive your first text message from someone that lacks all punctuation, shortens “you” to “u” or “session” to “sesh” or any of the other horrible ways in which modern technology has bastardized the English language, it’s over. We’re done. We’re through. Any attraction I ever had for you flew out the window instantly. In fact, I bodily threw it out the window. Inversely, if I accidentally spell something incorrectly or forgo punctuation, I will never hear the end of it. EVER. And so I will spend precious extra minutes poring over that text/email/Facebook message/tweet until it’s perfect.
- Realizing my entire life is probably a phallic symbol. Or a manifestation of my Electra complex. Or both.
- Everyone is always asking you to either read a book you have absolutely no interest in reading because THEY LOVED IT SO MUCH, or asking you that age-old question, “Which do you think was better, the book or the movie?” (hint: SOMETIMES the answer is actually the movie, but if you quote me on that, I’ll deny everything) Also; to all of you who are reading this and are English majors, do you ever feel just a *little* bit betrayed when you watch a movie, and afterwards find out it was adapted from a book and you didn’t know? That happened to me with the film/book Fried Green Tomatoes, and I still feel a teeny bit bitter about it.
- Those lovely friends of ours who assume that because we love literature, writing, grammar, editing, poetry, etc.. We must also obviously love proofreading/editing every single essay, job application, cover letter, book, poem, love letter, grocery list they push our way. “Oh, you majored in English? I have a 500 page book I wrote in the sixth grade that I’ve been thinking about getting published. Would you mind reading it and editing it thoroughly for me? THANKS.”
- And the worst thing about loving English literature and language? I’m way too verbose and I have way too much to say about everything (a 3 page paper is always harder to write than a 15 page one), so that instead of working on my resume like I should be doing right now, I’m writing about all the reasons why I not so secretly hate (and kind of secretly love) about being an English major, book worm, and all around nerd.