by Michael Katsock '20
Hooooooonk. Comma slammed on the brake, causing his vehicle to skid to a halt—but it was too late. After an exhausting day of being overused, spliced, and misplaced throughout the workplace, Comma traversed across the highway in an aloof state of mind during rush hour traffic. His eyes focused in on the shattered tail lights and bent bumper of the sporty vehicle in front of him. “Well, this is just great,” he thought to himself, “I hit one of those big shot snobs.” Exploding with rage, Semicolon popped out of his spiffy ride. Seeing the damage, Comma reluctantly stepped out of the vehicle, dodging misplaced and dangling modifiers swerving out of their lanes on the freeway, to meet the intimidating punctuation mark on the side of the road.
“How the hell did you not see me stopping from a mile away!” exclaimed the hot-tempered mark.
“Look man, it’s been a really long day. If we could just exchange insurance information, this will be a lot easier.”
“Easier? Easier? You know what would be easier? If you lowlifes would decide to pay attention and not hit my brand new car!”
“Excuse me,” retorted Comma, “I am a hardworking guy, just like many other of these ‘lowlifes,’ but that must not mean anything to you, Semicolon. All you do is show up a few times an essay and make your money. All for what? You’re all show. A period could do what you do just as well. So before I get really mad, you better just give me your information and I will be on my way—”
With an amplified aggression, Semicolon let Comma have it: “Do you know who I am? THE Semicolon, the grandest of the punctuation marks. Only the educated know how to use me correctly. I separate Independent Clauses and can act as a supercomma when the author overuses you when listing items in a series. Anyone can plop you down left and right, and for what? Boring, ordinary, monotonous Comma. So many uses, who can even keep track anymore? You are so incredibly plain, you only make up a portion of my punctuation mark.”
The wave of slanders directed at Comma caused an eruption in the mighty and essential mark: “How dare you. I am more versatile than you could ever dream of being. I can separate various items from a list, combine two independent clauses with one of my coordinating conjunction friends, or even introduce important phrases. Not to mention I organize names of places, separate nonrestrictive elements, set off nouns of direct address, and heighten the style of a sentence with an ellipsis—How’s that for simple?” Interrupting the madness, a siren whirled and whirled and whirled down Alphabet Lane.
Skkkkrrrrt. The grammar police vehicle slid to a halt when a lone enforcement officer, Period, emerged. “What seems to be the problem here?”
“Well, officer, little Comma here hit my car.”
“Ah, a little accident? Was there any grammatical crime I need to worry about?”
Quickly, before Comma could get a word in, Semicolon responded, “Oh, the only crime here is that Comma thinks he’s the most important punctuation mark out there.”
With a stern look, the officer turned to meet Comma’s diverted eyes, “Is this true?”
“Well, uh, sir,” he started, “Semicolon, here, was disrespecting my hard work, and he boasted of how important a punctuation mark he is.”
The officer addressed them both. “I’ve heard enough. There doesn’t seem to be any misused punctuation, but it does sound to me like a little case of the superiority complex. I have one thing to say to you two. There is only one ‘most important’ punctuation mark, the period. Without me, no organization, no way to express complete thoughts, no sentences. Where would we be without sentences? Now scram, before I lock you both up in the punctuation correction facility.” With mouths wide open, Comma and Semicolon glanced at each other for a split second before darting to their cars and speeding off.