Tuesday, June 08, 2004

hazelblackberry: ex marks the spot

Dear Nick

Some people speak in exclamation marks. Have you ever noticed this? I noticed it because I got an email from a male acquaintance recently and each line ended with !. I usually find this gives me the irrits; but then, what doesn't give me the irrits eventually? I'm not talking about sweet, furry kittens here.

Anyway, as I was reading I suddenly realised that I wasn't experiencing the shooting pains I often get up the side of my head when I grind my teeth. Because I wasn't grinding my teeth. Let me just get the complete emotion of that point over to you:

Because I wasn't grinding my teeth!

I realised that all those exclamation marks at the end of each sentence weren't bothering me because that's how the guy speaks anyway. So who could begrudge him? Certainly not I. Or maybe me.

But who is this guy? I tell you this: right now I can't remember and my email archives are kaput so I can't check back through.

And from there it was only a small philosophical leap to realising that there are many people in the world who speak in constantly exclamatory (? - !) voices. Like the boss's secretary. Spanner. Spanner would have whole strings of !!!!!s at the end of each sentence, even just to say she was heading off to the cafe to get some milk. But she might surprise you with the complete lack of exclamation marks in her writing. It just goes to show there's more to Spanner than meets the eye. I've always said that. You can check.

[For some reason, this reminds me: Spanner and her husband, Spade, are into letting their kid know all about the proper names for body parts. So down there - you know, down there - on a man is a penis; yes, a peeeeenis; and down there on a laidy, a real proper laidy, is...a butterfly.]

But here's my point: exclamation marks are fairly annoying, aren't they? Even Lynn Truss in Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which gives the e.m. a pretty solid defence, couldn't sway me. Sometimes I start to shake with anxiety as I'm working my way through an email of the type:

Hi! How are you?! Haven't heard from you in ages! I'm well! Work sucks! But you get that! etc etc

Not that I'm not ever so grateful to hear from the world, but this is the ocular equivalent of listening to people - and this happens especially in excerpts on the news - whose voices keep getting higher and higher, working towards some end point and swamping me with anxiety that they might never get there. Then it all finally breaks and I can lie back and enjoy a good smoke.

Until next time, Nick.

hb




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