Monday, February 01, 2010

Drink Up, Kids, or You Won't Amount to Anything

According to a notice from my daughter's school, "February is Healthy Kids Month!" The rest of the year, the tykes are free to be morbidly obese, disease-ridden alcoholic chain-smokers, but for the next 28 days...well, shape up, kiddies.

In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, every child in the school will be receiving a monogrammed stainless steel water bottle (or "Stainless Steel Water Bottle," as the caps-happy author of the message would have it) as a means of encouraging the regular consumption of fluids. In my day, schools were outfitted with hallway water fountains, which gave you an excuse to leave the class by saying you were thirsty, and afforded you the opportunity to, with the deft application of a thumb, spray passing girls with a jet of H2O. Education just ain't what it used to be.

In any case, we parents are advised that:

There will be a small amount of water bottles set aside, in case you would like to purchase an extra one.

 The problem here is with the word amount. Any time you're dealing with discrete individual units, the word to use is number. Amount is for those nouns that can't be counted. As in: "With the amount of water these kids will be drinking, we can expect to see an increase in the number of bathroom visits."