Monday, January 17, 2011

Dits & Dots

Six year ago, when I ventured into the world of online dating (where I met Paul!), one of the most curious things I discovered is that most men do not know how to: a)spell, and, b)use punctuation. (Um, you men out there seeking a date, there's this thing called spell-check.) My favorite -- and often recounted -- example of this is the man who wanted to impress me with his education, and wrote in an email that he had a "collage degree". And no, he wasn't an artist.

Yesterday while looking at frames at Target, I saw these frames -- multiple mini frames within one large frame:

And then I noticed this, uh, slightly different frame:

I chuckle to think of all the thousands of these "college" frames out there in the world, wishing, for all intents and purposes, that they could be so lucky as to have a collage degree.

But a little more about the online dating thing. After several months of atrociously bad punctuation, I edited my statement of what it was I was looking for in a man to include the phrase "must know how to use punctuation". Well. The number of 'winks' dropped off significantly and at an alarming rate. I cringed to think that my little hint about dots and dashes could scare off most of the single male population. Did these men really go to college? (Or was it actually collage they attended? [Which might explain the lack of diacritical marks.])

And then, I received a sort of document, if you will, in my inbox, a perfectly-punctuated, perfectly-formatted, perfectly-spelled piece of writing which even included bulletted points. Hark! There is a god! I fell fast and hard for this God of Good Grammar. I married him. And yes, we have really intense discussions about punctuation. We are punctuation nerds. And while I've been known to dabble in collage, the degree I earned in college dealt specifically with the art of manipulating words and little black specks on the page.


  1. oh dear, I cringe to think of how the final editor is cringing now that his/her packaging has been disseminated even so far as Target.

    There but for the grace of...

    But then, that's one of the reasons you are in my world, right? So that doesn't happen to me?

  2. what did you finally decide to frame, your collage or your college?

  3. Amusing! I was once introduced to a woman who had returned to studying when her children were grown and now "has a university decree."

    (I am not really a lurker - I skipped from Claire Beynon's place.)

  4. We had a conversation around the dinner table on Saturday evening about the imminent demise of the Capital Letter. It seems that They (and I can't remember who - but certainly an important They) are advocating all e-mail and text messaging do away with the Capital.
    How on earth will I SHOUT in an email without capital letters?

  5. Melinda, no worries. I won't let any college glass go out the door.

  6. dinahmow -- HAHAHAHAHA! I want one of those!

  7. Jacqueline, apparently the hyphen is on its way out also:

    And I've notice a dearth of semi-colons in the world lately. Perhaps we should start a movement --
    "Get Political About Punctuation!"

  8. Also, my youngest son, who really struggled with punctuation and capital letters when he was in school, now scolds me when I send him a less-than-perfect (notice the correct use of hyphens) text! He didn't get the whole comma thing. When I explained that it's when you take a breath in a sentence his response was "But I don't ever take a breath in a sentence!" And he was right about that.

  9. T., punctuation, grammar evolved for a reason. Why are people in such a hurry to devolve it?
    I guess it doesn't matter what you type, just as long as you can type it FAST!

  10. Oh T, this is brilliant! You are brilliant!

    If not the name of a movement, "Get Political About Punctuation" could be the title for a new collection? (Clothes? Poems? Short Stories? Sculpture?)

    You and Paul could do a lot worse than be punctuation nerds. Bless you both!


  11. of Corse men no how two uze, punktewashion: sum ov us Did gow two Kolage% and we kan Spel

  12. Oh my. Where to start? I live in World of Science, and Scientists, I fear, never really paid attention in grammar class at all. It is more than just a lapse in punctuation, is a lapse in spelling, and worst of all, utter lack of syntax!!
    T. I should send you some emails from my prof; they'll make you giggle...

  13. Nicole F! The GRE shouldd contain a grammar component. Just sayin'.

  14. I'm for a movement called Get Political About Punctuation (GPAP). In today's climate, though, it would be subject to vicious, unfounded attacks called GPAP smears.

  15. Oh no! what a bad pun, K. I better not join your organization, I love run-on sentences and the entire idea of just saying what you feel like. (see?) It all depends on what you're trying to express. If you are into formality and coldness, then use semicolons in personal e-mail. If you're feeling more spontaneous, just keep typing and see what happens, forget grammar capitalization spelling and punctuation. Use a lot of dashes-- that's liberating. But being a librarian and a cataloger, I fully appreciate where you two are coming from in regard to perfection. I'd rather have somebody write poorly than not at all. haha sp

  16. I guess my, overuse, of commas means, well, I must, you know, breathe too much ,,, ?

  17. oh paul (see, no caps), you crack me up.

    I love this story, t. how perfect that all those collage bums dropped off after you defined/refined your search.

    ...and don't you know that "the punctuation is personal"? Carol Hanisch said something like this, way back in 1969.

  18. A diacritical love story!

    Yours for flamboyant trees that black birds punctuate,

  19. The days of Julius Caesar's Latin contained neither capitals nor punctuation. Julius Caesar was noted for the rapidity with which he could both read and write since without capitals, punctuation or even paragraphs, writing was difficult and reading was even more so when the matters weren't lists of itemized whatevers and how much they cost or how much they sold for.

    Grammar and punctuation, and spelling too, are how we express ourselves on paper, since we don't have gestures, facial expressions, variations in volume or guns to express ourselves. Another reason one cannot be bothered with twits and texts.

    Love, C.