There are times when it is appropriate to be humorous, and there are
other times when humor is NOT appropriate. I certainly hope that other
RMR readers e-mailed Grimmy information about making nose cones (as I
did), but I have no way of knowing whether or not others did so.
When someone asks me a question or asks me for assistance in some matter,
I do not think it is polite to make fun of his or her language skills. I
have had the experience of asking for information or help in another
language (whose grammar I _know_ I "***ed"), but the native speakers I
addressed simply answered my questions or rendered the requested
assistance. Not only did they not criticize my skill (or the lack
thereof) in the use of their languages, they actually thanked me for
taking the trouble to try to learn their languages.
I find the criticisms that I lack (or need to find) a sense of humor
very...humorous. Ironic, isn't it? Like nearly all people, I have a
healthy sense of humor. However, I also have something which is
apparently not so widespread--the discretion to know when and when not to
be humorous. It is a learned trait, one that I learned by making
mistakes (making a joke at the wrong time, etc.).
There is much discussion on RMR about attracting new people to our
hobby. Making fun of a person's speech is not a good way to welcome that
person into the fold. I know a kind and inquisitive lady in Florida who
was (I emphasize--WAS) interested in astronomy. She called one of the
local planetariums for tips on how to get started in amateur astronomy.
The planetarium director treated her in a very condescending manner and
put down her paucity of knowledge about astronomy ("You didn't learn that
in school?," etc.). The experience completely turned her off to
astronomy. Let us not do the same to those who ask us about model rocketry.
James J. Wentworth