Today is my birthday (thank you, thank you), and this morning, Sarah gave me my presents, including the newly reissued first edition of Henry Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (which I'm very excited to geek out on):
And then, as I was pulling in to work, Gary Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" came on the radio, and I learned that, lo and behold, today is also Fowler's birthday (oh, muh guh!), and Gary recounted his whole eccentric story: how, at age forty-one, he had a crisis of faith and quit his teaching gig and moved to a one-room cottage on an island in the English Channel next door to his brother (the tomato farmer) and spent the rest of his life writing, among other things, quirky prescriptive texts on English usage.
Forty-one, huh? Okay, I've got three years before I start my own soon-to-be-timeless-classic on the English language, Slimbo's Everything Is Better With Hyphens and Footnotes.*
* I'm not sure what Fowler would say about the use of "co-inky-dink"—I'll have to look it up—but I assure you, Slimbo's Hyphens and Footnotes will strongly favor it.