Overnight, someone named Darrin sent me an e-mail with no message in the body. The subject line simply read:

Your a tool.

I thought I would write back:

Hi Darrin,

Actually, it's "You're a tool." You meant "You are a tool," and so that is contracted into "You're." That's why we call them contractions. It would be like if I wrote "Im a tool," instead of "I'm a tool." Get it?

In any case, thanks for your in-depth criticisms. I don't know exactly what you're referring to—did you not like my book review from a few weeks ago about how the American economy could learn a lot from Jay-Z?—but thanks to your e-mail, I know two things about you:

1. You believe that brevity is the soul of wit.
2. You don't know how to use contractions.

In any case, I will take it under advisement, whatever "it" is.

Paul Bobby Constant

Darrin wrote back! (The correspondence continues after the jump.)

I’m sure you think yourself to be very clever.

You are correct. It is “you’re” instead of “your”. I didn’t realize I was back in grade school.

Thank you for solidifying the fact that you are a tool.

And I wrote him back, because we're pen pals now.

There you go! You're a natural at contractions! If I do nothing else today, I know that I have taught something to another human being. That makes it all worthwhile. Thank you!

Maybe next we can work on your argument skills; I have no idea what you're writing about, except that you are very interested in my solidifying tool. What makes me a tool? How can I learn if you don't teach me?


That was at 11:20. I haven't heard anything else from Darrin. In retrospect, I think he might have been referring to this feature.