The Royal We

Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial we. ~ Mark Twain

 Remember last spring when our nation’s leader was mocked for tweeting, “WE are number one—President!”? Was he warming up for his visit to The Queen or merely cementing his narcissistic image? What if that one word, we, were stricken from our language for a day? Folks might think twice before spouting statements ranging from the banal “Please be patient; I care about your call” to the prejudicial “I don’t serve your kind here.”  

In the spirit of National Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) and National Speak in Complete Sentences Day (May 31), I propose National Don’t Speak for Me Day, to be celebrated January 1st—because 1 is as close as numbers get the personal pronoun I.  

Alas, for some the two are synonymous. Handwriting analysts are alert to writers who use the two interchangeably. Perhaps you’ve encountered a personal pronoun I, or PPI as we call it, that looks like the number one? I’m not talking about the stick-figure I you see in such fonts as Ariel, but the numerical-appearing I of the Gabriola, Brush Script MT, or Rage Italic font. Similarly, a writer who has always felt 2nd best may have a PPI that looks like a number 2, as in the capital I of Harlow Solid Italic. I don’t mean to make anyone paranoid, but few realize the subliminal implications of such choices.  

Getting back to the notion of National Don’t Speak for Me Day, though, might it not clear up a lot of misunderstandings in this world? Isn’t it time for more personal accountability without the ego?