Yesterday, I spent the day at the horse races, taking in the pomp and pageantry of the biggest stakes card of the year. I find the racetrack fascinating, and not just in that girlish horse-crazy sense. For starters, it’s the only place I know where it is normal to see small men wearing outrageous colors and women wearing birds on their heads. Second, I love the wordplay of the racing form, with horse names like Two Horn Unicorn, Tiny Giant, We Taught Ed, and the perennial long shot, Sir Sits A Lot.
But while the word bending usually tickles my writer bone, there are limits. Take, for instance, Meagans Princesses, whose crimes against grammar stopped my wager at the gate. I could almost forgive the missing possessive-forming apostrophe, but the plural princess just didn’t fly. My friends were appalled that I rejected a 2-1 favorite on grammatical grounds, but I guess that’s why I’m a writer and not a handicapper. I can’t help myself. To some, it’s just a missing apostrophe. To me, it’s a shot heard ‘cross the page.