Poor Ed Jaksha. Everybody is ganging up on his 2 percent solution.
Every day brings a new revelation of yet another way it would cripple
the state or, worse, cause the Cornhuskers to drop in the ratings.
And all that pressure must be getting to him: He's starting to refer
to himself in the Third Person Imperial.
"Ed Jaksha believes in this system of government and accepts his
obligation to pay his share of its cost," Ed Jaksha says. "But
Ed Jaksha believes we have more government today than we can afford."
When someone starts talking like that, he sounds as if he's either
trying to sort out his multiple personalities or he's just transcended
first-person pronouns. In either case, he marks himself as Someone on
SPORTS FIGURES, of course, are often there, especially when they're
trying to explain why they're worth 100 times as much money as English
teachers, or why they act the way they do around women sportswriters.
"They don't nobody," Herman Hammerschlager might explain, "impugn
Hammerin' Herman Hammerschlager's athleticism, or Hammerin' Herman's
chivalry toward ladies of the opposite sex, without they want a fat lip."
Lieutenant Colonel Ollie North talked that way three years ago when he
was explaining why he had to lie to Congress and subvert the
Constitution because he was so much more patriotic than the rest of Us.
"If the Commander in Chief tells this lieutenant colonel to go stand
in the corner and sit on his head," Ollie said, then he'd do it.
I THINK HE meant his own head, not the Commander in Chief's, but when
people transcend first-person pronouns, it's hard to tell.
Self-acknowledged bunkum artists like the Nasty boys pro rasslers use
the Third Person Imperial to tell us how nasty they are but, unlike
most users, they know they're blowing smoke.
I suppose Ed and Herman and Ollie got the idea from some English
teacher who taught them it was egocentric and wrong to use "I" and
"me" in their themes. And I suppose that Ed and Herman and Ollie never
considered that their English teacher might not know what he was
talking about and so they continued to follow his advice.
The Truth, Mainly
One of my English teacher friends thinks that when people use the
Third Person Imperial, we should take them out and shoot them. He
believes that extremism in pursuit of good grammar is not a vice,
but I take a more moderate view:
I THINK WE should deprive them of their civil rights. And those
caught taking them seriously should be deprived of their civil
I offer my own lid amendment one that would make it illegal
to be in favor of anything proposed by a user of the Third Personal Imperial. Anyone in the presence of a user would
be required to laugh audibly in his face in the same way we'd laugh audibly at a candidate who, for a really far-out
example, asks us to read his lips.
Then we'd be required to hit him about the head and shoulders
with an inflated pig bladder and shout, "A first-person pronoun, Sir! For the love of God, get yourself a first-person
pronoun before it's too late!"
I know what you're expecting now: that I'll end this piece with
some self-ridicule that undercuts all that I've just said and that implies that nobody should be offended because
all this is just a joke.
But I'm serious. I'm not kidding. Really important things like
pronouns this English teacher don't kid about.
Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.