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Monday, December 15, 2008

Extra work from the Boss is always a delight, of course, but first thing Monday morning, itís even better. I got several faxes from him over the weekend, all of which I ignored, but once Monday settles in that wonít work. This morning he sent me a draft of a three-page letter that he wanted me to type.

As the years have gone by, this has become more and more of a challenge. He scribbles his draft in pencil and faxes it to me without reading it. Naturally, Iíve grown used to his scribbling, and I rarely have to ask him to clarify. Lately, though, I wonder if heís testing me. Or maybe heís just losing it.

Spelling isnít a problem, because I know he canít spell and he knows I can. Grammar isnít a problem, usually. Sometimes I have to guess what heís trying to say, especially when he rethinks a sentence and adds a new word in the wrong place. I shudder when I see his caret marks, because itís never clear where to put the added words, and even if it is clear, itís likely to be wrong.

Over the years, the hardest thing for me has been the technical jargon. I work in construction, but I donít know much about it. Heís an engineer, and although he knows what word he means to write, he probably doesnít know how to spell it, and in some cases neither do I. I still donít know what a ďwalerĒ is (and I donít care, thanks), but I do know how to spell it (and thereís no h in it).

Anyway, things seem to be progressing in a negative direction. Itís getting harder and harder to decipher his scribbling, and his sentence structure has left English and moved on to something more amorphous, English as translated from Russian by someone whose native language is Martian. I wonder if heís losing his grip. I wouldnít be worried about this except that heís expressed the same concern about himself. He thinks his mental functions are fading. I hope not, since heís only ten years older than I am.

13 December 2008

Late afternoon sun on my house and garage.

So I typed the letter today, before I even had my shower. Between his diminished capacity and my morning grogginess, I expected drafts to be flying back and forth all day long. I had to change several sentences completely, and I hoped what I wrote was close enough to what he was trying to say. I must have guessed right, because he only changed one word and then sent off the letter. It was a relief for me, because this was payroll day.

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