Monday, January 30, 2023

Resolution Abandoned!

Morning note, 2015


I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  Secretly, though, this year I did make one.

I have already failed to keep it. That’s the fate of most New Year’s resolutions.  Soon the foot traffic at the local gym will decrease.  Consumption of bacon will increase and the eating of lettuce will fall.  The world will return to the usual level of cussing and cussedness.

My New Year’s resolution was to use no exclamation points.  

Sometime in the 1980s, my brother the compiler programmer taught me that the exclamation point can also be called “bang”.  The punctuation combination (say that ten times fast) ?! can be called “interrobang”.  I find ?! to be quite useful in the modern world, as there is much that is surprisingly questionable.

The symbol ! is also used in math to denote factorial, which involves an enthusiastic increase in numerical value. 

Waffles!!!!!  Toast!!!!! Transmogrifier!!!!!
The meaning of this exclamation-point-laden written exchange
among Common Household family members
is lost in the sands of time.

The use of most punctuation has declined.  To denote the end of your sentence, you don’t need a period.  

Just send the message

Or even better send a gif

Which is pronounced with a hard g because otherwise it is peanut butter

I feel the reverse is true for the exclamation point.  The universe of words is awash in exclamation points.  Attempting to live exclamation-point-free will result in one’s written comments being misinterpreted as grumpy, conflicted, or downright hostile.  

Examples – someone posts online:  

I just got the job I wanted!

We just adopted a new pet!!  

My possible exclamation-less responses:


That’s just fabulous.

Inner reaction toward me from the original poster: You misanthrope! 

If I want to sound enthusiastic without using an exclamation point, I would have to use a lot more words, such as,

  • I am very glad you have been hired for the exciting job you were seeking as a professional paint drying watcher.  

  • That is so wonderful that you were able to adopt your new armadillo.  I applaud you for your care of animals.

I very quickly reverted to using an exclamation point in my responses.  This January has me feeling grumpy enough, without contributing to the feeling with waspish replies.


As true in 2023 as it was in 2017.
Voting for judges is important
enough to warrant an exclamation point.


Bibliomama said...

I usually don't make resolutions for the very reason you mentioned, although I do have aspirations. I never try to lose weight in January - I mean, people who try to lose weight in January, have you MET January?
I do not like using exclamation marks. I have nothing against them from other people but I find using them myself... I don't know, embarrassing? I think it's my horror of being vulnerable or seeming too enthusiastic. I have issues.
I had heard of the interrobang, and it's one of my favourite words (my computer recognizes neither interrobang NOR favourite as words - one is just wrong and one is Americ-centric. Hmph).

Melissa said...

We are twinning with the punctuation issues. I have resolved to use fewer exclamation points, yet often I find myself looking grumpy when I just drop a period down (as you showed in your post). What to do? But yes, we all need to dial back our constant enthusiasm for EVERYTHING. It's a weird type of peer pressure that keeps me using these things when a period would suffice.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I am often in need of interrobangs. Life is weird and confusing. Now if only I can recall the name tomorrow! (Without exclamation points, I'd be accused of the writer's version of RBF.)
I'm waiting for the snow to go away; then I can get back to riding my bike. (I like semi-colons.)