Notes from a Linguistic Mystic

So, I was on campus today and stumbled across another magnificent strike by the Stall-Door Grammarian. The whole interaction read as follows:

Fumar la molta!
FUMAN “To smoke the pot”
Fumar is infinitive you f***ing dumb stoner hippy

For those interested, here’s a picture (sorry for the quality, it’s a camera phone picture). Click to enlarge!

This is fascinating to me in so many ways.

To begin, the first inscription in Spanish reads, literally, “to smoke the Marijuana”, coming from a combination of fumar, the infinitive of “To Smoke”, and “la mota” (misspelled and corrected on the stall), a slang term for Marijuana/Pot. A fascinating sentiment to be sure, and thoroughly ungrammatical. Leaving fumar unconjugated is a mistake that anybody with more than a few months’ exposure to the Spanish language would be unlikely to make Luckily for any native Spanish speakers who might be unclear as to who exactly is smoking the pot, a second person issues the correction “FUMAN”, meaning “They smoke”, and points out the ungrammaticality of the first sentence using a word-for-word translation.

However, to add insult to injury, an angry Stall-Door Grammarian stepped in after the second person left his comments (the shape of the M’s changed, so I assume it’s a new person). He points out that not only is “fumar” in the infinitive form (which it is), but then goes on to state his belief that the original writer is, in fact, a “f***ing dumb stoner hippy”. This is clearly past the realm of simple grammatical assistance, and quite frankly, I’d even chalk this up to a very mean person, once again trying to raise himself up above another with his knowledge of grammar.

So, Mr. Angry Stall-Door Grammarian, I hope you’re proud. You’ve managed to comment on the same error as the Gentleman above you. However, you were trying to make yourself seem more intelligent and articulate than the writer, even though you were only correcting a beginner’s mistake likely made by a non-native speaker of Spanish.

Be forewarned, oh Angry Stall-Door Grammarian, if you keep down this path, you’ll end up in Mexico someday, write something on a stall door, and return the next day to find a big red X over it, labeled Es subjuntivo, pinche necio Americano. Of course, if that happens, take a picture and send it in so I can post it. Then, all will be forgiven.

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