To the people who do or will misuse the exclamation mark:
There are roughly 275 million of you in these United States. No, I haven’t counted. But I’m sure it’s accurate by 25 million in either direction. To all of you I say that, if I could, I would permanently disable the exclamation mark on every keyboard, phone and typewriter. I don’t care that you wouldn’t be able to type the number 1. We could sacrifice it.
I’d go so far as to ask God to re-configure the human hands so that we can’t make the straight line stroke necessary to pen the exclamation mark. This is that serious.
Before I continue, I’ll admit that I have I have a problem myself … with an overabundant use of the ellipses. But I use it because I’m either actually thinking too hard or taking a necessary pause, as is the case in this sentence. I’m not doing it just because I can … well, maybe I am.
I still don’t know when, why or how this fad started. But it must end. Every day, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are littered with status updates that don’t exclaim anything, but somehow end in one to an infinite number of exclamation marks.
Bosses send e-mails with them to express their insincere happiness to their subordinates, and the subordinates requite them with a similar false enthusiasm.
Are you gonna have that project done two months from now on time?! Just thought I’d check in and see how things are progressing! We don’t want to miss that deadline now do we?!
One, two, three … four unnecessary exclamation points for an e-mail about a two-page report on a conference that is scheduled for 2013. Doesn’t this boss know that Nostradamus predicted that it’s all going to end in 2012?
Seriously, my reply would be this simple: Kevin, it’s in the works. Damon.
See, there’s no need for exclamation. There’s no reason for excitement. Is that so hard? Now, I blame some corners of Corporate America for this recession. But I can’t fully fault those same corners for this foolishness. No, I blame one company: Yahoo!, the most visited site in the world according to Wikipedia, the most reliable source ever.
Apologies to my two friends employed by this company, but the answer to this dilemma is right at the end of Yahoo!’s name. As of October 2007, Yahoo.com averaged 3.4 billion hits a day. Think about that. That’s 3.4 billion times a day someone unnecessarily sees the exclamation mark at the end of Yahoo! The God-forsaken mark is conditioned into people’s brains.
If I could ask Jerry Yang and David Filo one question it would be, why were you so damn excited when you named your company? Can’t you see the dilemma it has caused throughout the world? Eighties’ babies have absolutely lost control of their exclamation trigger finger because you made it chic to exclaim about nothing. Soon, teachers will be instructing students to end all sentences with exclamation marks.
OK, that’s two questions and two imperatives. But you get my point.
How about another example plucked from a status update: “It’s going 2 B a long day!!!”
Is there really anything exhilarating about the prospect of a long day? No. Does this status require three exclamation marks to tell me that you’re in the cut today? I don’t think so.
Anyway, I’m wasting time and making much about little I control . This epidemic is here to stay like the buffoonery that is VH1’s find-a-true-love shows. But it doesn’t mean I have to like any of it.