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Hugging a Semicolon: National Punctuation Day

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Paul “The Wavy Rule” Morris writes:

“Hey, it’s National Punctuation Day today!” I exclaimed to a co-worker who had just come back from break involving coffee-drinking and texting on a cellphone, an act that sadly failed to employ any punctuation marks.

“Oh, okay,” he said. “What am I supposed to do now? Hug a semicolon?”

Well, no, National Punctuation Day does not involve hugging semicolons (which are, in any case, notoriously shy punctuation marks). This Day, which has a website devoted to it, has a series of activities that you can do to honor these symbols of ours. Cook a question-mark meatloaf, bake exclamation-point cookies, take a picture of annoying punctuation gaffes, and celebrate the difference that good punctuation-mark use makes.

The benevolent founder of Emdashes (itself a website name that celebrates a punctuation mark), Emily Gordon, who eats, shoots, and leaves, loves and respects punctuation marks—so much so, in fact, that she decided to run a contest to name an unnamed one. (Interroverti, The Qué Mark, and Quiggle were the winners.)

Aldus Manutius, and all the typographical innovators in history, would be proud. Let us celebrate National Punctuation Day by using punctuation marks even more: let’s use semicolons in our text messaging (“The party sounds fun; I should go”), interpuncts on our iPhones, and ellipses in our e-mails (“You didn’t go to the party… Why?”).


Ode to a semicolon
Thou art the fairest mark of all;
Thy graceful curve and stellar dot
Would e’en the singing lark enthrall;
Who’d spurn thy use had better not.


Re an apostrophe

Thou art the grimmest mark of all —
Thy sword of Damoclean edge
Would e’en a Hercules appall;
Who’d urge thy use had better hedge.

Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

Ozzie MalandSeptember 30, 2008

More poems, please, Ozzie!

Love it.

Who could possibly resist such a request — your asking for more poems —? But I presume you mean in reference to punctuation marks, as to which my supply is now exhausted. In case my presumption is erroneous, I’ll give you a literary limerick and a literary parody that will surely exhaust your patience and that of all your readers:
A Canterbury tale of a slaughter
Told of an abducted daughter:
Not taken by boat,
Or tied on a goat —
Most likely a flying Chaucer.
I shot a squat into the sky —
They fell in pain, those folks nearby;
For, so quickly did my legs arise,
A pungent smell did them surprise.

Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

Ozzie MalandOctober 01, 2008

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