Always The Elephant

Being as useless as a used tampon is something I like to avoid. Of course, to a dog, a used tampon is a tasty buffet of afternoon-long fun. But I’m a cat person.

Come to think of it, that might be why.

While some people are great at running marathons, others make sensational cakes and pastries. A whole different set of folks can rock a pants-suit like the ’80’s never ended. But no one is good at all of these things– except Madonna; however, the general consensus among educated people is that she is a robot designed to bring the human race to ruin by convincing all middle-aged women that they, too, can be eternally 25. Or at least dress like it.

In terms of usefulness, I’m a sore thumb in a lot of situations. I’ll be the first to point it out when it happens. It’s no secret that I have a plethora of shortcomings; if I were a full-fledged, competent adult, the foundation of this blog would fall entirely into ruin. And then what would I do during my lonely, loser lunch break?


Yesterday, I had a conversation with a coworker who is much more stylistically knowledgeable than I. He’s the managing editor of one of the print publications my company owns; I’m a lowly editorial assistant. I get coffee, he gets shit done. Some day I, too, will be shit-completer.

A girl can dream.

I asked him a grammatical question– regarding the utilization of quotation marks for “emphasis”– and he gave me a weird look. Then, he asked me how I felt about semi-colons. “I love semi-colons.” He asked me if I knew how to use one. “Well… yes? I do.”

But can I articulate that? No. I’m a great writer, but a terrible communicator. My last boyfriend pointed this out to me frequently. Due to my lack of communication skills, I didn’t listen, and am now curiously single.


The way I construct sentences is the way my brain speaks, so it always sounds genius to me. I don’t follow any rules because (I don’t know what they are) I don’t need to– I’m above mechanics. Punctuation is my bitch. I make the rules. And they’re vaguely along the lines of:

Semi-colon: Whenever I want to separate two things that need to be separated by a period, but the joke will be funnier if it’s almost a run-on sentence. I use them liberally. They’re complicated looking– a period? On top of a comma? Madness.

Colon: Never. Or, rarely, since I just used a few, and lying is bad. But they’re ugly, and named after the thing that delivers poop from your body to the toilet. So I avoid them.

Dash: If I want to digress for a second into a topic which is loosely related, but probably a little funnier, I’ll use some dashes– like this– to bring the punchline to the forefront. If I’m going for punch, instead of punchline, I’ll only use the single dash– see? Punchy.

Period: They’re pretty standard, so I try to avoid them by abusing their cousins, brothers, aunts and babies. And weird neighbors. (That’s the brackets– “[ ]”).

Parenthesis: Reserved for long digressions, disclaimers, unrelated tid-bits, and thoughts which a few dashes would suffice to separate but I’ve already used too many in whatever I’m writing so I use parenthesis instead. They’re pretty ugly. I don’t know, I thought they were invented for stage directions.

Quotations Marks: This is what got me in trouble yesterday. I use them for emphasis, like, “Shirley wanted to murder her father, and by “murder” I mean “take life away from, forever.”” You’re not supposed to do that, ever. But I do. Why? Because Dr. Seuss invented all of his own rules, and his birthday was dubbed “National Read Across America Day.”

Comma: It’s a comma. I have no feelings toward it.

In yesterday’s post— which is one of my more articulate pieces, of recent– I talked about knowing when to build on knowledge, and when to uproot it and plant, in its place, something more sturdy. The former applies to my approach to punctuating.

Yet, I’m not going to take my own advice. Doing so would not make for good blog fodder.



3 thoughts on “Always The Elephant

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