Who decides these things? How does the & get its own national day?
Yesterday Lori & I were driving into Farmington for a swim workout. For a city of roughly 40 thousand residents, Farmington has some surprisingly good swimming facilities. The main pool at the Farmington Aquatic Center is 50 meters long & 25 yards wide. Every time I go, I get a lane to myself. And at 5500 feet of elevation, I thought my lungs were going to explode in the first 100 yards of the 2050 yard workout.
So. Anyway. Lori & I were in the car and listening to satellite radio. The radio announcer announced that the nation was celebrating National Ampersand Day. “You should write a blog post about that,” Lori said.
I’m a nerd & I find the history & etiology of the ampersand interesting. But a national day to celebrate this little ligature? What is next? National Don’t-Go-To-Work-Day? What the heck, make it a month. Our nation is already suffering from a labor shortage because too many people are celebrating that one.
Let’s stick with grammatical symbols and ligatures, shall we? How about National Octothorp Day. You know the octothorp, right? It’s what social media has commandeered as the “hash-tag” (#). Some people call it the “pound sign.” Here are a couple of other suggestions:
National Question Mark Day: ?.
For the entire day, observers of this holiday will only speak and write in questions.
- How are you today, John? - How should I be? - Is that a trick question? - Are you questioning my intent? - How long can we keep up this nonsense?
American Bang Week: !
Computer programmers have a language of their own. A bang may be a loud noise to some, but us code monkeys often use it to mean an exclamation point. Alternatively, maybe the holiday should be called American Overused Punctuation Week.
- BIG SALE TODAY!!!!! - OMG!!!!! - That is so awesome!!!!!!!! - !!!!!!!!!!! (no words needed)
If one exclamation point means surprise or shock, then five consecutive exclamation points must mean…
I don’t know what it means.
At Pride Month: @
This little gem deserves an entire month. Where would email be if we didn’t have the @ symbol so neatly placed above the number 2 on our QWERTY keyboards?
What’s that you say? Email is so 2000’s?
Alrighty then. How about social media? Out of all those people waiting in line at the DMV, most are thumb-typing like mad into their mobile devices. Are they solving great world problems? No. They are tagging other people in facebook.
- In line @NC_DMV. 2 hours already!!!!!! - After this I'm going to @FluffyPancakes for a late breakfast with @everybodysBFF. - Don't you just love @TriRiot? I do!!!!!
This one is celebrated all year long by many graduates of our fine educational institutions that failed to teach their students how to express themselves with civility, intelligence and precision. I’m not talking about everyone who drops an F-bomb or the occasional use of the present tense of shat.
I once had a professor who would cuss on occasion and make it sound like poetry. You hardly knew he was saying anything that would offend anyone. A woman I knew in college had a thick drawl (that is not a body part) and would sometimes say, “shee-it”, splitting a single syllable word right down the middle. Now that’s talent.
What makes me hang my head in sorrow for the future of literacy are those people who can’t open their mouths without @$!#?# coming out. Every other word!!!! Lori and I were at the Durango – La Plata Airport about a month ago when we witnessed a major public display of an F-bomb in action. It was more like an F-Machine gun. A would-be passenger missed his flight and was quite upset. He spewed, “F this” and “F that” and “F’n F-ity F F F”. I’m sure he noticed 10 of us standing in line, but he didn’t care if anyone was offended, because he was celebrating the festival of @$!#?#.
As long as I’m ranting, I’ll add this little bit. Have you ever noticed how so many modern comedians rely on harsh, offensive language to make people laugh? It’s pitiful. If the only laughs they can get are from that kind of language, they should switch professions; quickly.
That’s my take on National Ampersand Day. At least triathlon has a whole week to celebrate.
Until next time…