Please, Don’t Kill the Baby Pandas With Your Imprecision

Did you know there’s no such thing as a PIN number? It’s true. Also, you’ve never used an ATM machine. Not once. Because ATM machines don’t exist.

Don’t argue with me about this. You’ll lose.

I do my best to be a precise sonuvagun. Part of it is just my nature, part of it is training. My degree is in Graphic Design. I’m the guy who can’t drive by a billboard without pointing out everything wrong with it and naming the fonts. Design is as much about the big idea as it is the small details that bring that idea across in a way that is appealing and makes sense. Good design is nearly invisible. Bad design is obvious and painful.

Bad design kills. I literally believe that bad designers are also serial killers, inflicting damage and destruction on the lives of millions of people every day.

No, I don’t. I don’t literally believe that. I believe that figuratively.

How many times a day do you hear the word “literally” followed by an outlandish, untrue statement? My observations lead me to believe that if you spend time around teenage girls on a regular basis, the answer is likely “quite a bit.”

I don’t pretend to be perfect, but I do openly strive for perfection. Mistakes tend to haunt me and making at least an attempt at perfection keeps me sane. At least I know I was trying and I didn’t use your when I meant you’re on purpose. That’s another one. How hard is it to keep the two straight?

Then there’s its and it’s. One is possessive, the other is not. If you don’t know which is which, take a guess.

Now, reverse your guess.

You’ve got it. Good job. Now, don’t forget.

There’s no such thing as an ATM machine because ATM machine is a redundant, nonexistent term. ATM stands for Automatic Teller Machine. There’s no such thing as an Automatic Teller Machine machine. That’s like saying my name is BWHH Heasley. Call me Brock William Henry Heasley Heasley and I will not respond to you.

Laugh at the fact that I have four names and I will also not respond to you.

Precision is tough, but words mean things and they mean specific things and when you don’t use them correctly you create confusion and baby pandas die.

Save the baby pandas. Speak good the English.

And for the love of all that is holy, don’t get mad at the person who points out the deficiency in your language (me). He’s not a jerk, he’s just trying to understand you.

Which is hard because you seem to think it’s funny when I look at your crotch after you tell me you literally just peed your pants.

Like I’m the weird one.


13 thoughts on “Please, Don’t Kill the Baby Pandas With Your Imprecision

  1. cs3ink says:

    It’s funny, but even though I know the difference, I wrote ‘it’s’ instead of the possessive ‘its’ about ten time when writing the the most recent chapter of my book. Drove myself crazy.


  2. Abby says:

    I have a degree in graphic design, too, so I am with you on the fonts and the billboard critiques. One thing that drives me mad is when people — usually get-rich-quick-on-the-internet types — claim that good design “doesn’t matter” because content is king. Of course, these are often the same folks who insist that grammar and punctuation don’t matter, either.

    P.S. I was raised by an English teacher who emails/calls me regularly to point out misspellings and grammar mistakes on my blog. Thanks, Mom!


    • Brock says:

      Wow, Abby, at this point your eye for precision has got to be working overtime. Neither of my parents worked in education, but I can identify with finding error everywhere. Sometimes I want to take a red pen to the whole world.


  3. Andrew Miller says:

    So I could kill a baby panda with a lack of precision? The power! Mwahahaha ! I feel a moral quandary coming on. Since I now know I’m not alone in my annoyance of people who don’t grasp that “machine” is included in the acronym ATM, I suppose I’ll spare the baby pandas. For now.

    P.S. Congratulations on the promotion!


  4. Heidi says:

    Brock, may you never have to read the “professional” emails I receive at work.

    We have one contact at an advertising agency who refuses to use periods. I don’t know what they ever did to him, but it must have been bad. Instead of the widely accepted period, he opts to use ellipses, and only ellipses.

    Have you ever read what should be 2 paragraphs and a grand total of 18 sentences as one long sentence, filled with ellipses? Don’t do it. If the punctuation errors don’t cause baby pandas to die, the rage you feel over being forced to make sense of that mess will cause you to go on a baby panda killing spree.

    And don’t get me starting on people who send blank emails with a lengthy request typed in the subject line. I have a special hatred for them.


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