By Emma Philbrook
The Title 

Our 'Chief of the Grammar Police' gets the job!


So, you folks remember that writing contest thing at the law school I entered a couple months ago? Against all odds, I did well enough that I’ve got a new writing gig—Staff Editor at the Notre Dame Journal of Legislation.

Don’t be too impressed.

First of all, when I say against all odds, I mean against all odds. Really. I cried for about an hour straight after I turned in my finished product, finally calming myself down with the thought that my essay was bad enough to add some much-needed comic relief to the judging process. When the journal folks sent me an e-mail saying that they’d enjoyed my submission, I assumed that was what they were talking about. When they offered me a job, I figured they wanted to return the favor by giving me a good laugh. It took a bit of back-and-forth to figure out that they were serious.

Second of all, my roommate was working a part-time job while she wrote her entry and used the last day of the turn-in period to move out of her apartment. She now has a position with the Notre Dame Law Review, the most prestigious and selective journal at the law school. She’s the one you should be impressed with.

Third of all, “Staff Editor” does not entail kicking spit-shined shoes up on a mahogany desk and yelling for Peter Parker to go cover the latest Spider-Man sighting. (For one thing, Spider-Man sightings are not legislation. For another thing, spit-shining is generally a no-no in the age of coronavirus.) “Staff Editor” means a second-year law student hunched over their computer, squinting at lines of Times New Roman in search of misplaced commas and improper citation formatting. It means unglamorous things like late nights and massive e-mail chains and page-number double-checking. It means academic grunt work.

Naturally, I can’t wait to get started.

I’m dead serious. Really. Ask any of the poor saps who had the misfortune of being my peer-editing partner in high school or college—am thorough and merciless in my markings-up. I am the queen of the nitpickers, the overlord of the overthinkers, and the un-defundable chief of the grammar police. (Before you feel the need to verify these claims against my previous written work, recall a certain saying about the cobbler’s children. Also, any mistakes you find could easily have been inserted by my editor and/or a hostile foreign power. Also, it’s a pandemic and we should all cut each other slack, right?)

Above and beyond all that, I myself am such an exceedingly tedious person as to be immune to the effects of tedium from outside sources. I will delete your commas, move your periods, and individually count the number of spaces between your sentences. I will do this for hours on end without losing the will to live. Why? Because I peruse court filings for fun and once stayed home from a football game to peel a pound of garlic, that’s why.

Of course, you wouldn’t see me complaining anyway. This is a straight-up miracle, folks. Did the Israelites complain about manna when God dropped it into their laps? (Wait, I just checked my Bible…better find a different metaphor.) Did they gripe that it was too long a walk across the Red Sea? (Someone probably did, but there’s no written record of that, so…) No! They gave thanks for the miracle and marched on towards a bright future—and I, with my red pen in hand, shall do the same.

All of us at the Times want to congratulate Emma on this well deserved honor.


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