Some trends seem so hard to fight. At first just a few people are doing it, but then BAM! Everyone’s wearing Crocs, texting “LOL” or dropping the phrase, “The perfect storm.”
I’m winning my war against the exclamation point, but I’m not sure I can hold out much longer. The sticky sentence-ender has spread through email vernacular like Kudzu along Route 64. Women seem particularly fond of it. Indeed I lost one skirmish last week when trying to make plans with a certain female.
“Just play by the rules,” I say to myself whenever I start questioning too many things.
Why do men tie a piece of silk tightly around their necks? Why are loafers popular? How did Blue Tooth become socially acceptable? Why is entrepreneur so hard to spell? And why isn’t there a simpler word for someone who starts a business?
I’ll tackle those another day, but for now, I stand vigilant against the exclamation point. The problem is, “!” is starting to look normal. It’s like when you hang out with people who curse a lot. After a few hours, you find yourself dropping f- bombs willy nilly.
In a wonderful Slate story about the history of the exclamation point, Jacob Rubin writes, “The more insignificant the message, the more exclamations it will require. It’s a Freudian reaction formation: I really mean it! I loved the conference! OMG did I LOVE it!!!”
I hope my emails sound upbeat without such window dressing. Just because I don’t use it doesn’t mean I’m not excited to correspond. To anyone who may exchange emails with me, I’m thrilled we’re in touch. How are things, by the way?
When I respond, though, I’ll likely skip the exclamation point. I just don’t do that.
And if someone does get one; yes, I’m screaming at you!