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· My Excuse ·

Sometimes my cousin Grace, who figures discreetly around here (she found the Harvard joke for The First Grace of Style), sends me brief, cryptically blank, occasionally really hilarious emails. Recently, she sent, for example, "Excuses" and "Excuses . . . (second try)," suggesting ever so graciously, of course, that I've been neglecting my posts. Well, yes, of course, but the phrase on my About page is "occasional takes," not daily, and as for excuses, Grace, your blank notes and collegial jokes are on the one hand, and the other — as you should know — stylish enough to publish. But if you won't, here's my excuse.

I'm suffering from a quarterly-acute case of anecdotal polysyndetonitis. It goes like this:

Styles to Therapist: And I was grading and conferencing and grading again and committeeing and assigning essays and grading and conferencing and grading again and not-committeeing and then . . . fortunately . . .

Therapist: Look, Styles: please, slow down: It's clear that you've had little time for dalliance lately. So I'm prescribing a week's break.

That's the case. So wouldn't it be nice, Grace, if folks could see the strikeouts and home runs you send me, Mariner-style, in the off-season. If not last week's whiff marking my week here, then today's A-Rod home run. It deserves, I think, a laugh all the way to Texas. So how about commenting? But now I'm testing and grading and conferencing and

Styles to Stressed-Out Student: And you want WHAT?  Help with "College Pressures, Really Fast Relief, and the Art of Writing"?

Clearly, Grace, you're at bat.

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