When “Rain Man” was in the theaters, Billy Ocean was rocking the pop charts, Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers were appalling oenophiles far and wide, and I was a college senior eagerly looking forward to the standard-issue six-figure job and company BMW I was sure to receive upon graduation.
My interest in the English language was buried under a heap of career confusion typical of college graduates who weren’t raised by college graduates (or even around any, for that matter). And the “whoever dies with the most toys wins” mentality of the 1980s wasn’t helping.
But when I look back, I can see that an untapped interest in language was right under my nose — right up on the big screen. A single moment in the 1988 blockbuster delighted me to no end, hinting at an underlying passion for grammar.