Friday, January 21, 2011

A Brief Pause.

Not all punctuation is created equal.  This much I know.  The ‘holier-than-thou’ Period has always enjoyed a nice prestigious spot by being the ending point to almost every sentence.  As if this wasn’t enough, it is also the only mark of punctuation that can be spoken aloud to accentuate and drive a point home even more clearly.

“You are the world’s worst employee PERIOD
"Excellent point Drew!"

The poor and often mistreated Comma does not have that luxury.

“Hey COMMA what’s happening?”
“My name is Bill, you fucking asshole.”

As you can see, it just does not seem to work.  It is not very well received at all.

When the Age of Information came along and the whole triple-w thing, I thought maybe the Comma could get some more responsibility, some more respect.  But when the debates started about the webpage notation, and email addresses and so on, you should have seen the Period’s Spin Doctors and their awful smear campaigns against the Comma.

“Who would want to visit a Comma Com?  No one. Dot Com!  It just feels right.”
Comma Com?  Try saying that three times fast.  You can’t nor should you have to.  Dot Com for the win.”
“Burt COMMA Malone at hotmail COMMA Com?  I don’t think so.  Dot Com for president.”

It went on for months and months.

And if that wasn’t enough of an insult, random punctuation marks started getting high profile positions, like the ‘@’ symbol for email.  Where the hell did that come from?  The Square Brackets, the Squiggly Brackets, the Pointy Brackets, the Slash and Backslash, the Colon, the Underscore, the Dash… It felt like everyone was getting in on the fun, except the Comma.  The final nail in the Comma’s coffin was the tremendous outbreak and internet support of the Semi-Colon, and I don’t just mean for its involvement in the Winking Smiley Face.

“Why, separating email addresses sounds like a job for the Comma, doesn’t it?”
“Sorry, we’ve elected the Semi-Colon.  Seriously who invited the Comma?”

The only hope left was in everyone's everyday reading and writing.  Surely people still need to insert brief pauses here and there?  One would have thought so, but things are just not the way that they used to be.  With all the Twittling and Façadebooking and Toblogganing and McTexting going on, it seems like all people have the time, energy and patience for is the Period and his sidekicks Question Mark and Exclamation Point.  I’m pretty sure that the newer cell phone and computer keyboards will even start eliminating the Comma due to its lack of use.  They’ll probably replace it with some new symbol like Happy Face or Skateboard.

wassup people??ima  watchin teh new episode of real housewifes of yellowknife… its da best! seacrest out.
 “i cant believe ricky gervais said that11!!! who he thinks he is? :S
my zodiac sign changed i have no reason to live i think ima die
best. movie. ever.
that is so ophiuchus ;) … i heart astrology!
i had lots of sex today now my peepee hurts 8==o

Maybe we should dub this the Age of Too Much Information.  Granted if I have to hear one more person actually say “TMI” out loud, I’ll shit my pants, and then possibly throw some at them (see: Bad Language).  So much sharing going on of personal details and whatnot, and yet there is so little punctuation used during their display.  And don’t get me started on all of the grammar issues and lack of capital letters.  For now let’s stay focused on punctuation.  

The Period and his smug team of hipster elitists have clearly won this round, but let’s not let them win the battle.  If ever I seem a tad bit Comma-Happy, I do apologize, but it’s time to help out the little guy, the underdog, the common man, the Comma.

Fight the good fight, use the Comma.

That’s it.  PERIOD.


  1. Don't panic - I think the comma is making a comeback - we just have to do our bit.

    go TAG crazy! Whenever you publish a post, just spend an extra five minutes thinking about all the possible different subjects your post has covered and TAG it! Guess what - TAGS are separated by COMMAS! OH YEAH BABY

    The COMMA has wormed its way onto the 'net.

    Maybe there are more possibilities - speech marks managed to branch out of the written word altogether and find themselves a mime for arseholes to use repeatedly. Maybe COMMAS can come up with something on those lines. simply putting your hand out straight in front of you for a moment must surely indicate a pause? No?

    until then I see the categories for this post were "Communication, Language" I think you missed "periods,hyphens,commas,and - actually maybe not periods, that means something completely disgusting on this side of the Atlantic!

    go COMMA go

  2. I hope to, one day, see if all those people who don't know how to employ a pause when they write will, eventually, start talking like that and fall over from exhaustion.

    The comma's always been welcomed at my place.

  3. If you aren't a friend of the comma, you aren't a friend of mine.

    "“Hey COMMA what’s happening?”
    “My name is Bill, you fucking asshole.”"

    LOVE. Though if I actually started talking like this, I think you would hate me. Even for annoying might be: Please don't have me EXCLAMATION POINT.

    Ooof. That hurt to write.


  4. WOw this is one of my favorite posts ever. I love punctuation.

    Ever hear the song "Oxford Comma" by Vampire Weekend? If not I suggest you go do that.

  5. When I read comma con, I honestly thought comic con. I am such a dork.

  6. It warms my heart that so many are willing to help a brother out. Brother Comma that is.

    @Glen: Thanks for the tips, I will take all of them into consideration.

    @Vinny: Especially if it's a sentence ending with an Exclamation Point. Also thanks for your Comma use.

    @Lorraine: I totally thought the same thing. I even like: What's your problem QUESTION MARK

    @Penny: Vampire Weekend rules! And it's nice to know I'm not alone with my Passion for Punctuation.

    @Paul: No need to be ashamed, that's ho wthe Period's snobby team wants you to feel.

  7. Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon.
    That don't sound right.
    Back to the drawing board.

  8. This all sounds like a bad Christmas song:

    All of the other punctuation
    used to laugh and call him names.
    They never let poor comma
    join in any punctuation games.

    Who will save poor comma?

  9. "seacrest out"... Oh man, this, was, a, good, one.

  10. @Al: You know, I was waiting for that one...

    @CBC: Comma with your pause so short, won't you let me take a breath!

    @Cerealist: Excellent usage.

    @Chris: I'll start fundraising.

  11. Whoa. "Real Housewives of Yellowknife" = I want to say ROTFLMAO but I know you'd hate that so instead I will damn funny (SDF, I guess). This makes me want to change my blog from think.stew to think,stew!!
    P.S. You must investigate two things: a book entitled Eats, Shoots & Leaves and a little-known punctuation mark referred to as the "tilde." (You're welcome.)

  12. AND..."facadebooking" is one ace wordfuse. You rock.

  13. Seriously the Yellowknife housewives must make the Jersey freaks look tame and boring. Don't miss the blubber eating episode!

  14. The semicolon. Besides being a snappy little punctuation mark, it's also the root for "semicolonoscopy" (when your HMO won't authorize the full procedure).

  15. Dot com isn't shorthand for period comma? Ooooh. No wonder doing internetting was so hard.

  16. @Al: Semicolon... what a waste! Either do the full Colon or go home!

    @Tatty: If only it were, then it would be a beautiful collaboration... but the damn Period would never be seen directly next to a Comma... only next to other Periods, to form the '...' that we all know and love. Damn you Period, for being so useful!

  17. "And don’t get me started on all of the grammar issues and lack of capital letters."

    hey! i only write in small case all the time cuz my caps lock is broken, ok?


    oh, shit.

  18. I over-use the hell out of the comma, man.

  19. @Kage: Well, OBVIOUSLY I don't mean you.

    @Beer: If only everyone was as good a citizen as you. I'm surprised it didn't come up in the State of the Union.

  20. Kev - FYI you have practically FORCED me to give you an award -

  21. AWESOME. I wrote about it in the UPDATES tab up top...


  22. I had a teacher once (a zillion years ago) tell me I used commas too much, in fact I believe she referred to my writing as "commatose".... I also believe she thought she was funny... poor thing.
    Really I'm just a big fan of the ellipsis now...but maybe just for shits'n'giggles I'll start using,,,

  23. Being COMMATOSE sounds pretty good actually.

    Seeing ',,,' looks unnatural at first, but the more you stare at it, the more beautiful it gets.

    It's hypnotizing, it has me, dare I say, COMMATOSED.

  24. well, should you care to see it in action... feel free to check out my blog where I can guarantee you massive doses. :)

  25. I'm going to use more commas from now on!

    (Even though I didn't use any in this comment. Sorry Kevin!)


  26. It's alright, Dean, I will forgive, you, this time.