More Punctuation, Please!

I admit: I like excessive punctuation. I am often quite liberal with my use of commas, parentheses (just to be a jerk), ellipses… and all other forms of fancy–and oftentimes unnecessary–word decoration.

However, despite my adulation for spare emoticon parts, I don’t think the Punctuation founders went far enough. How can anyone justify having only two possible endings for declarative statements? You can either choose the staid, buttoned-up period… or you can choose the doowop-dancing, likely-high-as-a-kite exclamation mark.

The difference between the two is huge. Let’s say you run into an old friend, Molly, at a rally to save the organic farming industry.  You exchange email addresses. You get a message from Molly the next day: Hey, it’s Molly, blah blah blah, weren’t those organic, hand-shucked corn chips fantastic, and then:

Herein lies the problem: #1 is boring and matter-of-fact, while #2 is almost overly friendly. Perhaps it’s just me, but when strangers use an abundance of exclamation marks in emails, I immediately picture them as trippy cartoon characters: Hello! You’re great! Let’s meet up! I’m free at noon! See you then! I’m going to stick my head in the oven first! Toodles!

Can’t we have a punctuation mark which implies greater enthusiasm than the period, yet less enthusiasm than the gung ho! exclamation mark? Perhaps… the midget exclamation mark? Then, we can easily decode the following:

(But I’ll probably never see you again.)

(I think you’re the bestest and I want to be with you forever and ever and say things like “Hehe” even though it’s completely unnatural, but it’s okay because I love you.)

(I genuinely enjoyed my time with you. And I’m not crazy.)

Unfortunately, given our limited punctuation inventory, we still don’t have a mini-exclamation mark that can quell the burn of the period/exclamation. So, until someone figures out how to put a mini-exclamation on their keyboard (Bill Gates, are you listening?), I’m just going to stick with what I always do… mask my true feelings with never-ending sentences:

(And now I’m going to introduce a banal topic to continue this sentence so that I don’t have to let you know how I actually feel about seeing you.)

Honestly, I love the dash–

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1 Comment

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One response to “More Punctuation, Please!

  1. Teresa, you tiptoe into society’s binary simplifications (either/or) of so much beside e-mail communications. Another hint that WE NEED YOUR POSTS!!! Oops…losing my restrained, dignified expression of affection for same. Well, more good wishes for your success, out there in the belly of the pop culture beast {so that you may find time to regale us once more with comedic genius & social critique}. [Insert “hehe” here?].

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