Wednesday, August 20, 2008


[That title is supposed to mean "Rest in Peace," not "rip a CD."]

Image via Wikipedia I had a question about grammar and I went to my old favorite grammar website, Charles Darling's The Guide to Grammar and Writing--otherwise fondly remembered by me as Ask Grammar (including a hacked picture of Whistler's mother in a rocking chair).

I was shocked to see a notice at the top of the home page:
Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Charles Darling.


I wrote to Dr. Darling several times over the years to ask him detailed questions of grammar. He always responded with grace and kindness.

And now he's dead.

Indeed, he's been dead for over a year, based on a blog post I found on memorializing his passing on July 31, 2007!

I guess it's "just" so shocking partially because I counted Dr. Darling as a kind of friend, even though we never met. And here this acquaintance of mine is dead . . . and has been dead for so long . . . and I didn't know.

There's something that feels hollow about that. As if I should have known, though I don't know why.

What bums me out even more: I have been unable to find out anything more about him. Not even the date of his death or, really, the cause. (The author of the blog article notes, "At one point an announcement asked for patience [in answering questions] as Dr. Darling was recovering from surgery. During my last visit, a new page announced his passing.")

I thought the web is supposed to be so useful for finding out just about anything. But not so. Some events and some people go unremarked . . . though they are truly significant.

I would like to echo the sentiments of Carla, the author of the blog post on "Rest in peace, Charles Darling. And thank you."
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