I'm beginning to really hate exclamation points!
In fact, the overuse of them - of which I have been guilty - is causing me to have an existential crisis. As a writer I strive to be authentic, but I’ve begun to question myself - do I really feel that excited? Does it sound like I’m bouncing with enthusiasm … when I’m actually not?
I knew it was getting bad when I started revising my text messages. I’d go back and reread them, then decide to limit myself to only one exclamatory sentence - which meant having to figure out which of them should be the enthusiastic recipient of the one exclamation point I would use. You know, there really should be a punctuation mark that sits between the serious, full stop period and the overly enthusiastic exclamation mark.
As unbelievable as it may seem, Anton Chekhov actually wrote a book called, The Exclamation Mark. The premise of the story is “A civil servant stands accused of not understanding the rules of punctuation. He begins to go through the correct use of commas and semicolons before arriving at the exclamation mark, which, he realizes, in 40 years of writing, he has never used. From here he develops a bizarre and paranoid fantasy in which everyday objects transform into malevolent exclamation marks.” Hey, Anton, I get it.
And acronyms? Whose brilliant idea was it to introduce them into everyday written communication? I mean, I rarely “laugh out loud,” but I feel I must respond with the obligatory LOL. Otherwise, will the other person feel slighted or that I am being too serious? I’d like to suggest a new, more authentic acronym for LOL, when I'm not actually “laughing out loud.” How about STM? You know, “smiling to myself.” That's pretty much what I do.
Well, now I’m off to start a new social media platform called Mutter - a safe place to express all the things that annoy you. On second thought, who wants to listen to a bunch of whiners?
Image found on ogilvy.com