Wolfs Versus WolvesPosted: June 1, 2015 | |
I meet a lot of nice people. I’d take credit for that, but the truth is that I meet those nice people because of my wife. She is very social and a magnet for good people. I am not similarly gifted. I’m only good at speaking with people who are dangerously, criminally insane.
My gift isn’t as useful as it was before I retired. We don’t typically socialize with the criminally insane. That means that my skill set is wasted upon the non-hostage taking people we spend time with.
The Wolfs Wolves These Nice People
So it was through my wife’s graces that we recently came to know yet another couple who are neither dangerous nor criminals. Their last name is Wolf. They’re friendly, older and we see them often at our favorite restaurants.
I’m trying to become better at talking to normal people while de-emphasizing my tendency to build rapport with angry, heavily armed folks. I’m seeing results from my efforts. I am getting a lot more comfortable in social situations. There have been times that I’ve held my own in a conversation. I’ve even introduced people to each other.
And introductions are where that nice, friendly, older couple whose last name is Wolf comes back in to the discussion.
Introductions Are My Problem
Twice, I have introduced these nice folks to other people. But introducing people involves saying their name. On both occasions, I have intended to begin the introduction by saying “these are the Wolfs”. I know that two people whose last name is Wolf are called “the Wolfs”. But something inside me screams “Wolves!” while the rest of me knows I should say Wolfs.
Both those times, what started out as a normal introduction ended in a mush-mouthed, elongated version of this couple’s perfectly acceptable last name. “Wolfs” and “Wolves” battled along the short path between my brain and my mouth. The fight was never quite over by the time I got through the “these are the…” part and I had to say their name. And so that name came out as something like “Wooolfvvfzs’s”
I don’t know why this keeps happening. The convention of how to refer to more than one person with that particular last name is clear. It is also clear that neither half of this couple is an actual wolf (with a small w) so they should never be referred to as the Wolves.
Every Problem Has A Solution
Because I’m having this problem, I’m calling for a linguistic change. One wolf, whether two or four-legged, will always be a wolf. But this foolishness about different pluralization rules for different species, even when they’re spelled the same way, has to stop.
Either re-label packs of the four-legged variety of wolf as wolfs or we tell every family whose last name is Wolf that they are now The Wolves.
Or The Wooolfvvfzs’s.
I’ll leave it to you to settle the matter. I don’t care which option you settle upon, I just need it done, now. My transition from social awkwardness to less social awkwardness rests with you.