Thursday, June 3, 2010

Copulative Complications

One of the great things about the internet is that borderline alcoholic lone parents, who are forced to stay home at night, can now go online once they have reached the edge of maudlin with their lonely lone parent bottle of wine. I am one of those people. Online, to define it properly, means searching up old flames. That’s because old flames are safe. They remember you from way back when you didn’t buy your clothes in the fatty shop, you don’t need to do a police check on them because you know they were always mad but not in a weirdo way and they are also likely to be the kind of married and living on another continent safe.
Recently I found an old flame on Facebook. There was a touch of all of the above. He sent me an email to say he still thinks I’m beautiful (he last saw me in 1987). Luckily, he’s been living in New York for the past 25 years, so I won’t have to do my roots, put on my favourite tent and disappoint him over a coffee. The dangerous part is that he is currently single and other than some grey stubble looks pretty much the same as he did the last time I kicked him out of my apartment in Bray leaving him to walk the 20 mile journey back to his place in Fairview. Possibly that walk or one of the other journeys I put upon the poor guy has been key to the fact that he has spent the past twenty years actively climbing mountains, bouldering and hiking.
He promised that he’d always held a place for me in his heart despite his two marriages and numerous love affairs. He told me he still paints, plays guitar and writes poetry despite the time constraints brought on by a successful career.
Then there was the phone call: “gee, it’s been so long.”  When I asked him how he was doing he said “I’m good.”I had not asked him about his behaviour, I had asked him how he was. Then he reminisced on old times and how we “laughed so hard.” It wasn’t just the Noo Yawk twang that got to me, but the fact that he was changing his words. This I’m good carry on gets to me big time. I already knew he was good: bloody brilliant. Why else would I go looking for him after 25 years and a bottle of cheap wine, but let’s face it, well is an adverb and good is an adjective.
Adverbs describe verbs and adjectives describe nouns, which means that saying ‘I am good’ is wrong, as good cannot mean how you are, rather what kind of person you are. Complicated, I know, and as for laughing so hard, we never laughed hard, we laughed ourselves sick, or silly, or laughed our heads off: all much more unrealistic descriptions of laughing, but at least they conjure up an image whereas laughing hard doesn’t.
So I decided that even if this handsome, fit, wealthy ex of mine really does send me the promised ticket to America, I really couldn’t take him up on it. It just wouldn’t be right to meet up with somebody who’d developed bad grammar habits over the years. I did some research into the usage of I’m good and I’m well  in order to have some incriminating evidence,only to discover that it’s actually not wrong to say I’m good. Apparently it’s got something to do with what’s called linking verbs and action verbs, and seemingly the verb to be is the quintessential action verb, making it perfectly legal to respond I’m good to the question how are you? It went on to explain that linking verbs are also called copulative verbs. Well there you go, I thought. Isn’t that where all the trouble began in the first place.
So I’ve just sent him an email to say I won’t be coming to visit. It’s just because of some copulative complications…

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