I think the title says it all. As long as you agree, you can skip the rest of this… unless you want examples. By the way, I’m not referring to their importance in the sense of, let’s say, the School For Unnecessary Ellipses (where William Shatner got his degree in Unusual Hyphen Placement). I mean that if you want to convey a thought, punctuation is essential. Words help but I’ll get to that in a minute.
On my way home from Thanksgiving in Tennessee, I saw, repeatedly, several dot-matrix signs that all read:
“Remember To Give Thanks
For All That
Don’t Text And Drive”
After the word “that” was, on most signs, a flickering period. Thus, reading it came out as “Remember to give thanks for all that,” followed by a completely separate “Don’t Text And Drive.” (First thought: all what?) I saw three of the stupid things before I realized it was all one sentence: “Remember to give thanks for all that don’t text and drive.” I had a considerably longer list of things to give thanks for and non-texting drivers wasn’t on it, but, regardless, that should have been written a little better.
How’s this one? A couple weeks ago, I came home to a pink trash bag wrapped around my mailbox. This is a fairly new thing to me but it usually signifies a charity that is collecting something for their cause. In this case, it was clothes and shoes for victims of domestic violence. I do support that. I usually don’t give that much but… every little bit, right? There was an instruction card attached to the bag that included what they wanted, who they’d give it to, when they’d pick it up, and, of course, the charity name. Here’s where it kind of falls apart for me. The charity name is:
Hope for Domestic Violence
Let that sink in. Looking at it, I’m not even sure that punctuation would help it. I know what they’re TRYING to say, but it comes out similar to “I want a white Christmas, so, hope for snow” or “we’ve got that monster truck rally this weekend, so, hope for rain.” I can not think of a situation where one would hope for domestic violence.
I retract that. I can think of one, and I am being a bit cruel about it. I hope Melania beats the crap out of Donnie.
I should point out that I did look into this one a bit. Some people, locally, anyway, thought it was a scam. However, according to Gregg Kennard, director of the charity responsible for the annual bags, “Where we’re weak is the administrative end and the marketing end.” You think, Gregg?
While I’m at it, let me got on to a bit of pronunciation, which is like oral punctuation, right? (Just go with me on this.) There’s a “Black Friday” commercial for Walmart that is, for starters, terribly unrealistic, and also poorly sung. Now, I’ve seen people kicked out of Walmart for actually dancing. However, I’m honestly not sure what they’re doing in the commercial other than some kind of shopping cart synchronized spasms – step, step, step, TWITCH! It was on beat but… Anyway, that’s off topic.
The song in the background contains the lyrics “I’m gonna kick off all of my socks.” I looked up the lyrics, which did take a while, and the line read “I’m gonna kick off both of my socks.” Both makes sense. The sung version: “All of my socks.” How many socks are you wearing? Usually people don’t go for more than two, one on each foot.
I’m picturing the response as “Well, I’ve got the two on my feet, one on each ear, one on my nose and three in my pants – two to make it look bigger and one for birth control.” (If that picture is going to pop into my head, I’m putting it in yours, too) Well, one can only hope for the birth control part of that. The song is pretty crap. And if I’m honest, the sales weren’t that great either.