Sunday, November 28, 2010

That's the way the cookie crumbles, Stevie boy

Today’s ‘Positive and Optimistic Sunday’. I always struggle with compound words. Should they be written as two separate words, or two words joined by a hyphen, or one continuous word. I never know. Sweetheart Vivienne, who’s studied editing and so is much more in-the-know and proficient than I about such matters, tells me there are rules, and it’s best to consult a dictionary though some are outdated. I can’t be bothered with dictionaries, so I wing it, i.e. I write what looks proper to my eye, and if in doubt I shove in a hyphen. An example’s come-uppance. The urban dictionary says it should be hyphenated as neither word, of its own definition, conveys close to the meaning of the combination of the two; so the linkage by the hyphen’s needed [1]. So there. It defines come-uppance as, in the negative sense ,‘a deserved reward or just due’. says it’s an (unhyphenated!) 1855-60 Americanism coming from the phrase ‘come up’ plus a suffix ‘ance’ (as in appearing before a judge or court for judgement) [2]. Why do I write today of come-uppance? Due to health bureaucrat Stephen Duckett’s arrogant and contemptuous “I’m eating my cookie!” performance [3]. He got his come-uppance – hyphen or no hyphen. He was sacked from his $575,000+ per annum job as chief of the Alberta Health Service in Canada; labelled ‘The Cookie Monster’ [4]; and made a laughing stock [5, 6] He deserves it. 100%. How positive and optimistic is that. Ho hum.

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