I am feeling a little Andy Rooneyish today. I can almost hear him narrating this post.
Last month, I was handed a uniform traffic citation outside my home state. Because there is a court date looming, I realize I am taking a risk by blogging about it. But I can’t resist.
To recap, a state trooper pulled me over for driving 69 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone. Then he wrote me a ticket for 70 mph, which could have consequences beyond a simple fine.
Following this incident, I received letters from seven of that state’s law firms, pitching their services in helping me get the charge reduced or dismissed.
I finally sat down and combed through all the letters. The first one hit me with its rash of unnecessary quotation marks, so I decided one way I’d sort the letters would be to weed out those that didn’t pass the Word Nymph test.
Here’s where Andy Rooney comes in. Just picture him sitting there behind his cluttered desk, amidst the open envelopes, letters and the waivers they all come with (in case you haven’t been so fortunate as to receive one).
The first letter comes from a “Community Oriented Law Firm.” In quotes, but no mention of who said it.
The second claims, I am not a Big City law firm. Is this supposed to be a selling point? Or is Big City a municipality in that state?
The third letter talks about fines for running a Stop Sign or Red Light. Capitalized.
The fourth displays the following tagline below the firm name: honoring Him by serving those with legal challenges in our community with integrity and excellence. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The fifth one touts its postage-paid envelope for sending back the waiver: No stamp necessary! Exclamation point! Wow, if this saves me 44 cents, then they’ve got MY business.
The sixth letter went straight to the bottom of the stack for twice using the obnoxious parenthetical numeral. That’s in case you wouldn’t otherwise know – Traffic offenses generally cause insurance points to be assessed against you that will result in increased premiums for a period of three (3) years. For example, premiums can be doubled for a traffic violation that carries four (4) points. I’m glad they made that clear, as I was absent the day they taught us how to spell numbers.
The seventh letter begins a paragraph with, If you have not already plead guilty… Isn’t it pled? Or pleaded?
The reality is that, if I choose to obtain legal representation, I place my fate in the hands of one of these firms. And I do so humbly because I am being charged with a violation that has nothing whatsoever to do with grammar or punctuation. Traffic law is the great equalizer.
Anyone out there have a cousin Vinny?
Word Nymph will resume on Monday, after spending Sunday asking forgiveness for her irreverent headline.