if u kant spel or yoos propper punkuashun dont rite 2 me.

Let me preface this by saying one thing: people who can't use proper spelling, grammar or punctuation are one of two things, illiterate or moronic. I have no problem with someone who, by default, is illiterate. Maybe they don't speak English, maybe they couldn't attend school. Fine. I can handle that. But the rest of them? Morons.

"Hey how u doin wana chat somtime right me back"

Excuse me?

This is a message I received on one of those fancy networking websites. A little internet wonder called MySpace. On MySpace, users can create a profile, upload pictures, connect with friends, send messages and, well, stalk people. Unfortunately there's no disclaimer warning the literate that illiterate twenty-something (or forty-something) men are on the prowl for intelligent, well-mannered people like myself. Actually, no. They're searching for scantily clad, classless women who pose with their panties down for pictures and can't spell "hi," but somehow they find me. Or you. Or any unsuspecting victim.

Point is, even if you weren't a creepy, sleazy man, the fact that you spell "sometime" without an "e" makes me want to scream. And it's "write," not "right," you idiot. And a question mark belongs somewhere in there, too. Two of them actually. And a period.

Let's be fair. It's not just internet prowlers who forget punctuation. (Oh, and manners. Spelling. Grammar.) They're everywhere, and not just men. Now I'm a little biased seeing as though I spent $20,000 on an education to become a writing professional, but honestly, isn't there common sense anymore?

I've been told not to judge a book by its cover. OK, fine. I'll judge the book by the way it's ritten. Oh, I mean written. Let's have a lesson, shall we? Definitely is not spelled definatly. Thoes is not how to spell those. The phrase "what up," however obnoxious, is not "wat up." Punctuation was created for a reason. This is a period (.) and this is a comma (,). Use them.

Now I'm not trying to be a snob. I have my days. When I'm in a hurry, or shooting a quick e-mail to a friend, I'll drop the punctuation, no biggie. But grammar? That's a must. Spelling, just as important. When I was in first-grade, I lost the spelling bee because I spelled the word upon "o-p-u-n." That's tragic. I was under pressure. I was also six. There's no excuse when you're 25.

I'll forgive you if you're grandfathered in. That is, if I've known you longer than I've been so anal about writing technicalities. Some people just aren't meant to write. But come on, if you're a stranger, and you're trying to impress a journalist - yoos sum commin cense.