OVER & OUT: Quin LaComb finds his life’s passion in grammar and proofreading

In each installment of the four-part OVER & OUT series, graduated Octagon staffers will be saying their adieus to Octagon readers before they head to their respective colleges. Former print copy editor Quin LaComb is the third in the series. 

Graduated senior Quin LaComb

Honestly, I can’t stand writing. I’ve never really enjoyed it, and, frankly, I often find writing anything from essays to stories or even that one Brian Greene paragraph for Fels (which she never collected, much to the class’s dismay) to be, well, terrible.

Yet I’m finishing off my senior year with two years of Octagon under my belt.

You may ask, “But, Quin, if you hate writing so much, why are you still on the Octagon?”

You know, you actually have a very good point – or at least you would if you were talking to a completely logical being, which, I assure you, I am not.

So to answer your question, I must ask you a question. What is better than writing? If you answered correcting grammar from 3:30-8:30 p.m. for five nights every month, you might be just as illogical as I am. But, man, let me tell you, it’s the best.

Now, if you were to test me on grammar, you’d quickly think that I’m an absolute troglodyte. You might ask, “Quin, what’s a participle?” My answer: I have no idea. It’s probably a part of a sentence.

I know, I know. “How can he be print copy editor if he doesn’t know the parts of a sentence?” and on and on. My grammar skills are technically trash.

However, there won’t be any copy editors on staff next year, which I assume means that I did such a great job that no one even wanted to follow in my footsteps because they were so intimidated.

At this point, you’re likely bored with my bragging and wandering back to the question, “No, but, like, for real, how are you copy editor but still bad at grammar?”

You really want to know, don’t you? OK, I’ll let you in on a little secret … I just say it in my head, and what sounds right is usually what’s right. It’s as simple as that.

And when I can’t figure it out, I just guess, and hope Fels will either agree or change it to what’s correct. (“Haha!” I think to myself during paste-up. “I’ve successfully pushed my work onto someone else!”  >:]   )

This actually ties into my procrastination, and I feel like I should throw in a short apology to atone for my sins:

Sorry, Fels, Marigot, Adam, Sonja and all others that I’ve inconvenienced either by not turning in my work or by turning it in way late. My wrongdoings haunt me every night before I sleep, and I often find myself sobbing for hours on end thinking about how I’ve wronged you. (This may not come across well in writing, but that second half was sarcasm. Hehehe.)

But, really, all of those names above deserve a round of applause. I’ve hacked into your computer/phone, reader, and if I don’t hear clapping, I’ll find you. Those people are truly masters of their craft and some of the best and brightest people I know. Shoutout to them for just being generally great.

But by this point, reader, you must be incredibly bored with this discussion, and you probably think I’ve gone off the deep end and have no point to make. That’s only partially false. I have gone off the deep end, but I still have a point to make.

Circling back a little, I do love grammar and correcting it, even if I don’t technically know what I’m doing. But I do it regardless because I enjoy it.

“The audience sits in anticipation. ‘What do you think his point will be?!’ cries one of the members rhetorically. ‘Could it be important?’”

I assure you, audience member, that it is important. When I was invited to be a member of the Octagon staff at the end of my sophomore year, I honestly didn’t know anything about this newspaper/fake news/church/cult.

If you had asked me, “What’s the Octagon?” I probably would’ve answered along the lines of how I would have answered your dumb question about participles: I dunno, a newspaper or some sort of analogous news source.

But I joined, and I found something I loved: grammar. And now the crescendo ends and the point of this masterful farewell reveals itself.

As stated, I don’t know much about grammar other than that I love it. So, dear reader, find something that you love, and do it, even if you don’t know much about it. Whether it’s coding or crocheting or writing or solving equations or correcting grammar, whatever it is, just find it and do it.

“Oh, wow, this is really original. I’ve never heard advice like it ever before.”

Now that’s no way to treat this heartfelt advice. I used to be like you, a cynic when it came to stuff like this. But I’ve been enlightened since then. (“Whoa, he’s really pushing the whole ‘cult’ thing a little far.”)

You may heed or, perhaps, brush off this advice, but either way you’ll realize that this is true. Either you already have, or you will. There’s no avoiding it.

So, loving readers, now is my time to say farewell. Thank you, and goodbye. (See you in my Freshman Focus next year. Haha, you can never escape me!)

By Quin LaComb

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