John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Man vs. machine

There is excellent reason to suppose that the designer of the Bryant furnace/air conditioner in my basement suffered from demonic possession.

Removing the filter for periodic vacuuming of dust and cat hair is not difficult, but returning it means getting down on the knees, groping in the dark recess past a bundle of hanging electrical cords that probably shouldn't be pulled loose, trying to keep the wobbly aluminum frame of the filter from bending over itself instead of blocking the opening, trying to fit the little latch over the filter, repeating the process because the filter frame has come loose again, and — inevitably, every time — scraping the skin off the knuckles against some protruding edge of metal.

Such a struggle takes it out of a man.

And therefore, since I am at liberty today, if anyone else craves the benefit of a sustaining pint or two, I would find a little company to be salubrious. Fiveish or so? (Unless you’re pretending to work and won’t be sprung till later.) Hamilton Tavern, or some comparable Baltimore saloon? (Even if you’re paying, I’m not inclined to leave town. But send me your name, and I’ll drink to your health.) No reasonable offer refused.