Monday, July 14, 2014

89. Lying Down

I want all of you to know that I just spent the past 15 minutes researching the grammar of "lay" versus "lie" (along with lying, lain, laid, laying, et cetera) and pulling out all my hair. I am not going to try to explain what I learned to you because it will just make you want to hit yourself in the face with a water balloon filled with that exploding ink they put on stolen money so that you can walk around for weeks with a face stained blue and when people ask you,

"What did you do to your face?"


To save you from that awful fate, I will not attempt to explain. Just rest assured that the title of this post is grammatically correct, and that it doesn't really matter if you use those words correctly in real life, because no one cares.

If you DO care, then I wish two things for you:

1. That you are an editor and you get paid enough money that your exasperation with our culture's butchery of the English language doesn't go to waste.
2. That you never get involved in any text conversations with a teenager. Ever.

Someone told me once that we shrink ever so slightly throughout the day from gravity pulling down on us and compressing our spines. When you go to sleep (assuming you don't sleep standing up like John Travolta in that 90's movie Michael or hanging from the ceiling by your feet like a vampire in gravity boots), your body has a chance to loosen up and stretch back out to its true height. If this is true, then it makes sense that folks who carry extra heavy things would be more impacted by gravity. Therefore, backpackers must compress a little bit more than the average person, a little bit less than astronauts, and about the same as avid mall-shoppers, diner waitstaff who can carry two full trays of food to a table of 12, and parents with baby bjorns. Baby, we were bjorn to run.

When a backpacker gets to LAY DOWN THEIR BACKPACK and then LIE DOWN ON THEIR SLEEPING BAG, they get an extra hit of reverse-accordian-ing. The uncoiling of that spring is immensely satisfying because the contrast is so much more apparent than in regular life, when one is not carrying 30 extra pounds in their shoulders. When I was backpacking and would finally go to sleep at night, I felt like how a kitten must feel when they get all crazy stretched out. I like to think that backpackers get the full stretch-out every night, but I feel certain there was a permanent accumulated loss of height over six months. I'm positive I am a quarter of an inch shorter than when I started. 

This will be my excuse for not getting things off of high shelves for the rest of my life.

Let me give you just a taste: The past tense of "Lie" is "Lay", but the past tense of "Lay" is "Laid." WHAT THE HECK, 15TH CENTURY ENGLISH OLIGARCHY, WHY YOU GOTTA BE LIKE DAT?


  1. Do hikers experience a floating feeling when they first take off their backpacks?

    Didn't you mean to write 'reverse accordianism'. (there's that squiggly red line under the words again, what the heck does that mean!) Bern

  2. This reminds me of something I learned yesterday. Did you know the word 'newfangled' is from the 15th century?!?! I always figured it was from the 1920s. That blew my mind.

    Mmmm laying down. Sleeeeep.