Exclamation Marks

I was chatting with The Venerable Josh Engen yesterday, as I am wont to do, and I offered to make his band’s record/coloring book the first release from this multimedia collective I’m trying to start (more on that at a later time) and he responded with “Sure!” If you know Josh (and if you don’t, you should), you’d know that he’s not an exclamation mark guy. So I assumed it was sarcasm–or worse–but it turned out that he really was using an exclamation mark in the way it was intended: To show exclamation.

Which got me thinking about emails. I send a lot of them. Because I live in St. Paul and teach in NW Iowa, I’m in contact pretty regularly with my students via email. And I’m always using exclamation marks. Is it because I want them to like me? Probably. Though there’s also something to be said about how much we communicate via text and how punctuation plays a role in that. (For punctuation ideas, might I suggest this?)

I also make jokes in the emails. But I realized today that they’re probably jokes my dad would make. Which got me wondering again: At what point does a person stop being cool and not notice it? Not that I’m delusion and think that I am or always have been superwaycool, but I suppose I’ve always thought I was doing okay. And what happens if that has changed, but I’ve failed to recognize it? It made me think of The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Elliot, which my lit class read earlier in the semester:

I grow old… I grow old…
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Of course, I’m nowhere near as sad or crabby as Mr. Prufrock (Or Mr. Elliot?). And if I’m being honest, I’ve been old my whole life. So I guess what I’m trying to say is:

Stop making so much noise! And using so many exclamation marks!

And get off my lawn.

2 thoughts on “Exclamation Marks

  1. I never use exclamation marks unless I’m typing something to a student. Then I use them all the time. I think I do it to show I’m interested. I didn’t really notice until now though. As far as being uncool, I figure that I’ve always been uncool it just took me a while to realize it.

  2. I’m the coolest cat ever! Always have been! Always will be! You can learn being cool by hanging out with me. Since you haven’t done so consistently for years it is probably why you have back-tracked in that department.

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