Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: “But when we look around us at the state of literacy – and in particular at all those signs for “BOBS’ MOTORS”….” –Lynn Truss, “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”

But Carmen couldn’t wait, not with that sign in the window. Her mother was an English teacher, damn it. She told Samuel that she’d pay and stormed into the gas station. She saw the clerk and was fixing him with her stare before she was even at the counter.

“I want to speak to the owner,” she said.

“I’m one of them,” he said, taking off his hat. “What can I do for you?”

“You’re Bob, then?” she said, glancing at the “BOBS’ MOTORS” sign in the window.

He nodded and shrugged at the same time.

“Like I said, I’m one of them.”

“One of them?” She gawked. “How illiterate are you?”

Another man came in from the back, this one taller, his overalls stained with oil.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

Bob answered. “I think the lady wants to speak to us about literacy.”

The other man rubbed his hands on his overalls and looked at Carmen.

“There’s a rack of paperbacks by the door if that’s what you’re after.”

“No,” Carmen said, almost stamping her foot. “The sign on your store is incorrectly punctuated. If the store belongs to Bob,” she pointed at the man behind the counter, “then the apostrophe goes before the ‘s,’ not after.”

“Well, yeah,” said the guy in overalls. “But it doesn’t. It belongs to all of us Bobs.”

Carmen took a moment on this.

“You’re Bob?”

“Yeah. Bob McClane.” He gestured to the Bob behind the counter. “That’s Bobby Green. His dad’s Bobby Green Sr. I’ve got a cousin, Bob Jaffey. All four of us have a stake in the place.”

“In Bobs’ Motors?” she asked, regretting having not let her husband come in to pay.

“Yeah,” said both Bobs.

She looked down into her purse.

“Twenty dollars of unleaded, please.”


  1. "It belongs all of us Bobs."

    I've seen mechanics missing a tooth, but never a quartet of mechanics missing a "to".

  2. ROFL. Brilliant. I love Eats, Shoots and Leaves but this is a great riposte.

    1. It's a great grammar book, I just wanted to tease her about this particular line.

  3. Love it! The grammar nazi is hoist on her own petard!

    The Bobs also made an appearance in White Pickups. Shoot, they could have been two of these guys for all I know. :-D

  4. If only.

    There is a health food store near me which makes and bags their own "outragiously delicious" tamari almonds. I finally mentioned it after the labels stayed uncorrected for a year, and got told off in a very heated manner. Guess I wasn't the only one to notice. They claimed they had to use up the roll of labels before they could change it. That was over five years ago, and it's still the same.


Counter est. March 2, 2008