...after a message from the Professional Organization of English Majors.


GK: As an English major, one is naturally in a good mood most of the time -- a good knowledge of English is salubrious -- you are transported by words, such as exultant and beatific and felicity -- you amble or perambulate or trip lightly or gallivant and felicitous phrases tumble through your consciousness -- "how sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank, here we will sit, and let the sounds of music creep in our ears."

TR: Hey-- you--

GK: Yes?

TR: Can I help you?

GK: Help me what?

TR: Well, you're walking looking at stuff -- can I help you find what you're looking for?

GK: Are you a sales clerk?

TR: Yeah?

GK: Since you are a sales clerk, then, the presumption is that you could help me -- so you'd ask permission to help me -- you'd say, "May I help you?"

TR: Oh.

GK: "Can" means "Do I have the ability to help you?" "May" means "do I have your permission?"

TR: Okay.

GK: When should one stick up for correct usage and when is it better to relax one's standards?

TR: What're you looking for?

GK: I'm looking for a wrench.

TR: Could I help you?

GK: You could. I'm looking for a wrench for a friend name Renee; Renee with an accent over the second E.

TR: You must be an English major.

GK: I am, actually.

TR: Ohhhhh. (ADORINGLY) I love English. It's such a rich, multilayered language. To devote one's life to it--how exultant. My name is Desiree. Also with an accent.

GK: I love accents. I'm starting to hear music creeping in my ears.

TR: You are so... articulate.

TR: Curses. Foiled again. By an English major.

GK: A message from the Professional Organization of English Majors.