Ok, I’ll say it: It has been hard for me to accept this newfangled trend of purposely linking a plural pronoun to a singular antecedent. Sure, I’ve done it myself accidentally more times than I would like to admit, but in days gone by I would never purposely refer back to a singular human with a plural pronoun. As an English major, I was indoctrinated to believe this was a major grammatical mistake and as such it should be avoided to prevent bloodletting from a red pen.
I’m not proud about it, but I’ve even crusaded against people who flaunted pronoun disagreement–and by the plural people I mean mostly my singular wife. She’s been confusing pronouns ever since we got married. I’ve given up trying to correct her, mostly to prevent her glower from overheating and causing wanton and reckless destruction to the area near my forehead.
That said, I bear some responsibility. Because I can’t afford to maintain two lawnmowers, she can’t participate in grass cutting despite statements of willingness like, “Can we cut the grass? The front yard looks like a hayfield.” In this case, the plural we defaults to the singular me because we only have one single-seater lawnmower. Whenever my current mower bites the dust, I’m going to look into the cost of a tandem mower. Then I can fulfill my wife’s wish of one day cutting the grass together as a unified we.
I used to think her incorrect usage was due to a flawed education, but given the number of times I’ve corrected her, I can only assume she has a flawed memory. Last night, for example, she said, “The kitchen reaks. Can we take out the trash?” But when I finally tied off the trash bag and excavated it from the kitchen trash can, I was the only one standing there trying to tame my gagging reflex.
But the point here is I’ve mellowed some. I no longer feel the need to correct my wife’s usage of the plural we. I’ve just come to accept she means the singular me. There’s more things to worry about than who is called what. And as Christians, who am I kidding? Pronoun confusion is baked into the very core of our central tentet–God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, three in one. Is the Trinity a he, it, or they? Who the heck knows?
All I know is that Jesus, presumably a (he/him/God), said that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. If my singular neighbor wants to be called a plural they, so be it. That sure beats walking a second mile.