My friend Anthony , a teacher/writer friend of mine from way back , pointed out to me yesterday that my posts show certain patterns of punctuation that might not pass muster were an English teacher to happen by . Anthony mentioned this not as a criticism , I think , but simply as an observation . Maybe I do it on purpose , after all , to attract attention , an eccentric quirky literary device , perhaps .
I immediately spilled the beans , however , and admitted the accidental nature of the phenomenon , my , in the end , hopelessly lackadaisical attitude toward such precision in writing . Anthony assured me that that was okay . I’m pretty sure , nevertheless , that he was biting his teacher/writer tongue and wishing that my instructors in school had done a better job with their task of influencing and guiding young minds .
I had a girlfriend in college , an English major , who focused on the minutia of grammar . She was forever writing “papers” for her English classes . When she let me read some of them once in awhile , I’d try to follow her ideas , attempts that lumbered clumsily along paragraph by hopeless paragraph , while she focused during our discussion of her efforts almost exclusively on the punctuation points . ” How many spaces do I leave after a question mark ? ” (Don’t ask me ! )
Well , Anthony and I both agreed , I think , that I was potentially giving work to editors . That’s something . I’m not a card-carrying member of the editor union , after all . I shouldn’t really be usurping their work , anyhow , now that I’m thinking of it . I’m not a card-carrying member of any writers’ union , either ; but , that’s beside the point , so let’s move along .
We were eating at a Thai restaurant during this conversation , Anthony and I . Ada was there , too , suggesting that all of us consider ordering Cuban food , or maybe have a Thai entree with some Cuban appetizers . The specials for the day at this Thai food place, oddly enough , were all Cuban . I guess that makes as much sense as anything else . Why not ? I guess there was a Cuban in the kitchen that day . The Cuban offerings were tempting , but none of us ordered any of them . We stuck with Thai .
I take seriously what my friend Anthony says , so I briefly considered being more careful with my punctuation . He’s too much of an experienced teacher to have directly told me to do that . He , instead , merely floated the notion with a pretending-to-be unconcerned smile on his face and a quick fixed gaze . No overt suggestion that I do anything about my continual dereliction of punctuation duty and corruption of the language ; just a subtle unspoken hint and nudge to clean up my act . Unless I want to be some kind of lingo rebel , flaunting rules to show how surprisingly unique I am , like some obnoxious teenager . No , we’re all too old for that , Anthony’s dark eyes said . Grow up , Dan , grow up !
reading writing too much into this whole thing . I think it was the Cuban food at the Thai restaurant that threw me off . Maybe the Cuban angle is a brilliant innovation that keeps customers off guard and piques interest in the place . It didn’t make sense to me to offer Cuban food as the specialty of the day at a Thai place . But , as for me , I can’t even space my periods correctly , so who am I to judge !
I’d like to say that I do my particular punctuation intentionally to pique readers’ interest . I’ll tell Anthony that —– compare it to the Cuban food thing . I doubt that he’ll go for that explanation , though .