Punctuation Equilibrium The recent wild vacillations of the stock market and Dow industrial average have gotten people concerned about shortages and potential crises across the board, so this is just an update on the items under my purview.
The State of the Sentence.
As most of you already know, we have had some serious supply problems over the last twenty years since the Internet was created, where too much of one form of punctuation was being delivered to some areas and not enough would be provided to others. The previous administration did not value the free and unfettered flow of properly placed punctuation as much as you might like, nor would they have enjoyed the nice uses of alliteration in the earlier parts of this sentence. The new administration, however, has placed a premium on precisely this problem, and so we may proceed with the full weight of the United States government supporting us.
So, in light of this, the update.
One of the key priorities of 2010 is to ensure that people who need punctuation are provided with it. Far too many writers have been left bereft and alone with nary a comma or a period in sight, forced to prattle on and on like they were James Joyce trying to figure out how to finish off Ulysses. First and foremost, then, we must make sure that these writers are provided with periods to end their sentences. We have uncovered a rich vein of periods nestled in the bedrock of people who use superfluous ellipses to indicate pauses when they should simply be using a comma. People who use ellipses to list items shall have them confiscated and will be issued commas instead. To adjust for this increase in comma demand, we may have to discontinue the Oxford comma until a new equilibrium is found.
If a shortage in these areas continues to persist, our stockpile of colons and semicolons, which have been left largely unused in recent years, could be broken up into collections of periods and commas, in a time of great need.
People exercising their newfound steady supply of periods will also be needing a constant supply of capital letters to start off their sentences. Also, the practice of pretending that you are the e.e. cummings of the Internet will now be outlawed and violators will be kept to a strict diet of Emily Dickinson until the malady subsides--this may necessitate dipping into our em-dash stash. Capital letters will be provided by recycling the comments of people from youtube and other online sites where the use of all caps is a growing concern. These blighted areas of the internet will be dismantled and the recycled for parts, much like the aqueducts and temples of the Roman Empire were when they fell into disrepair and decadence.
There is, at this point, no need to mine umlauts to be broken up into periods as well, but a fair trade for some of our surplus capital letters could perhaps be arranged with the German language.
Writers like Cormac McCarthy, who are under the impression that we are still suffering from the quotation mark shortage of the 1920s, will be happy to learn that a steady supply of quotation marks has been mined from people who use them for emphasis rather than bolding or italicizing like they should. There has never been much of a shortage outside of an incident in Ireland in 1918 distantly caused by the sinking of the Lusitania, but this surplus should keep us in quotation marks for a good 50 years before we have to consider mining them from people who use quotation marks to indicate that they are saying things ironically, rather than just trusting their reader to understand something that any 13 year old watcher of the Simpsons understands.
I am sorry to announce that question marks and exclamation points must still be rationed and that no one should use either more than once per sentence, and never for multiple sentences sequentially. The prevalence of lolcats on the Internet and other related issues have lead to exclamations points being squandered and wasted frivolously, and our efforts to purchase a steady supply of both forms of punctuation marks from Mexico has failed due to them being incompatible with American sentences. All efforts to flip their exclamation points and question marks 180 degrees has so far been unsuccessful. We must, for the moment, use them sparingly, and try to move through our stockpile of unused interrobangs until an alternate punctuation source can be found.
Thank you for your time, and I shall keep you updated as the year progresses. If you have found any spelling or punctuation errors in this preceding message, please consult Muphry's Law, which states: "if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written."