What Do Identity Politics Mean When You Don’t Have An Identity?

maskI had a friend in college who told me that statistically I didn’t exist. And maybe I don’t.

He said it because as an American I’m a bit of an anomaly. But the truth of his off-hand comment has lingered with me for years. Beyond the demographic categories I can’t escape, I’ve tried identities on for size—with varying degrees of accuracy.

But let me go back.

My childhood doesn’t fit me. The child I was is incongruent with how I see myself now. I know I lived through grade school, through college, through job after job after job. Through labels—grounds crew, barista, teaching assistant, cashier, first grader, freshman, senior, summa cum laude, employee of the month, girlfriend, single.

But was I any of those things? Was I an archivist? A graduate student? A partner? A mentor?  Continue reading

It's "its," not "it's."

I don’t have perfect grammar by any means. I start a lot of my sentences with “And” and “But.” I often use fragments for stylistic purposes. I overuse the word “that.” Not to mention, sometimes I get my use of “that” and “which” mixed up. This is all to say that I’m certainly no expert on the subject.

Nevertheless, few spelling/grammar faux pas irritate me more than improper use of apostrophes. (The only one I can think of that annoys me more is the “fewer”/”less” distinction, but that’s a story for another day.)

Apostrophes are primarily used to make contractions and to show possession.

There is a difference between “its” and “it’s.” I understand why this could possibly be confusing, because “its” shows possession without an apostrophe, but “it’s” is clearly a contraction for “it is.” Not to mention, words like “his” and “her” also show possession without use of an apostrophe.

Lately, though, I’ve been seeing a lot of writing which uses the apostrophe to make words plural, which is just wrong and ridiculous. In the past week, I’ve seen the following: “one’s,” “Friday’s,” and even “marshmallow’s.” None of these cases was the “‘s” being used to show possession.

Yes, I’ve run into the problem of how to make letters and numbers plural, as in: “There were 15 Cs on the exam.” I’ve seen this written: “There were 15 C’s on the exam,” but when the letter is capitalized, I think the proper way to do this is just adding an “s.”

It’s only recently that I’ve been seeing this mistake with regular, everyday words. Normally, I could blame Twitter or texting, but that just doesn’t explain it.

So, I ask, what is everyone’s sudden infatuation with the apostrophe?