Before I had heard the words “misplaced modifier” I had already learned that it would get me in a world of trouble. I could recount more, but the one that stands out was the first.
I heard hushed whispers in the kitchen. I was trying to read in my room. I always tried to escape to my room as soon as possible. There was a plethora of worlds waiting within my books. The whispers sounded more urgent. They slowed and I thought “eh…”
My mother came into my room. I thought of all the possible things I could have done wrong that one day. I broke into a sweat. I was a sweater of sweat. My mother looked at me and said “I need to tell you something.” Yep, I had done something wrong.
She looked at the floor. “You know how your uncle is always carrying on with strange women?” No, no I did not know that. I had overheard that repeatedly in the ten or so years that I was alive. Officially I knew nothing. When the overlords are questioning, play dumb.
“Well, one of them shot herself in the bathroom over him.” I pondered this statement. I turned it this way and that. I could not understand this pronouncement. “Er,” I stammered “Um, did that hurt, do you think?”
My mother looked at me for a few hours (it may have been seconds) and said “What?”
“Shooting yourself in the bathroom”
My mother sat and said “You are impossible to talk to most of the time.” I took it that this must have been one of those times. She left the room looking at me disdainfully. It could have been distaste. It could have been distrust. I will never know. I will also never know how the story ended.
To this day, a misplaced modifier hold terror for me. Slain by the creeping terror before I had a name for it.