Danko Afterthought, Secretary to Amb. Whitfield

At the celebrated kaffeeklatsch often referred to in Caledon as “ISC chat,” the local gentry were discussing the shortcomings of their typists. The common problems of grammatical and spelling errors were discussed and it was agreed all around that the current crop of typists leaves much to be desired.

I ventured to add another issue involved in dealing with this class of servants that goes beyond the mere performance of their duties. According to my notes, my contribution to the exchange went as follows…

If I may add caution regarding our “typists” — and I can only say this as my own has Mondays off, so I must enter these words myself, I put “typist” in quotes as I once referred to my typist as my typist while he was actually paying attention to me for a change. This led to a discussion about his years of service and a minor argument ensued. I will spare you the details but when it was over, he was elevated to “Secretary” (it must always be capitalized) and his renumeration increased more than twofold. Just a word to the wise about cavaliere references to “typists.”

Of course, my entry contained typos and spelling errors, not to mention my usual failings with punctuation. Yet, others chimed in. Mr. Hax noted the penchant of typists to blame others for their own mistakes. Miss Rain likewise stated that she had come up against that issue. I have seen it myself. A typist…err, Secretary…can get away with that blame game but God forbid we should try it. Surely a double standard exists.

But all at the gathering agreed we are helpless to do anything about these matters. We remain at the mercy of our typists. For me, that would be Mr. Afterthought, full name: Danko Afterthought. (Yes, as incredible as it seems, we do share the same first name. And yes, we have heard all of the jokes, thank you very much.) I must admit, however, that Mr. Afterthought’s value was underlined this very day. I’m not sure now whether his promotion to Secretary is quite enough. I may, after my experience in his absence, have to refer to him as Mr. Secretary to fully honor his place in this world.

For example, in polishing this article for publication, I found that the word used above, “renumeration,” is not in the dictionary. Messrs. Merriam and Webster contend it is “remuneration.” Have I heard this word incorrectly all these years? No, in fact. I have heard it correctly even though the word itself may be incorrect. Or not.

I researched this problem for a much longer period of time than seemed appropriate. Many, many others write the word as I do, renumeration, but a search through other dictionaries found agreement with both Merriam and Webster. I have elected to continue to say renumeration and be in good company with many others, even if we are all wrong.

If this were not Monday, Mr. Afterthought would be here and would tend to such a matter as this and I would not have been put through this torture. Nor would I have passed it on to you.

My sincere apologies.