As I enter the second half of my life I find myself less motivated to fine-tune my language skills, preferring to focus on getting across the main idea and finishing off my message with gestures and (admittedly clownish) facial expressions. I might get the article’s gender wrong when I order my coffee, but if I still get the coffee who cares*?
My indifference certainly applies to German’s fiddly rules about genitive/dativ/accusative, but it also applies to English. I was just abut to look up the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, but then I realized that a.) I was going to forget the difference again fairly soon anyway, and b.) knowing won’t change the effectiveness of my communication. When I shout, “Jesus gay, people, RUN! There’s a stalagmite about to drop on your heads!”, you’re not going to look down, are you? You’re going to scan the ceiling and run like hell.
(OF COURSE I looked up stalagmite just now! Otherwise the joke wouldn’t work. Also, I was right – stalagmites grow up from the floor, stalactites grow down from the ceiling. Now we know. Doesn’t that feel good?)