The Apostrophe

The apostrophe is a high-flying being in the world of punctuation.

If the period is a snail, the apostrophe is a jet plane, and not something like those ridiculous Super Guppies, no, of course not, it’d probably be one of those private jets you would book based on how much you liked the shape of the windows, then as you watched the world underneath you’d wonder how you’d gotten there and start becoming disgusted at how high above the ground you were, chiding yourself oh-so-silently and just wanting to sit in a diner, any diner, yes I’ll take a pie and coffee, did you know they serve pie and coffee on planes, too, it isn’t as good though, ha, it’s never as good, it can’t be, up there where you can start to see the world as the speck it really is, the last thing you want is pie and coffee, you want something to remember, or maybe something to forget, or maybe just something to distract that vicious-looking panther a mere two rows behind you, but pie and coffee are none of those, and they never will be.

Right. So the the apostrophe was created in the late 1800s, when seriously everyone wanted some piece of that flying-in-the-sky pie (sigh). It was originally supposed to look more like a tilde, but real-world tests quickly established that the style of apostrophe used today had the best power-to-weight ratio.

It was named the apostrophe in honor of the rhetorical figure of speech, as millions (or perhaps several more) dreamed of the mark turning away from all other bits on the page, pressing against the invisible ceiling that paper imposes on all its subjects. Could the apostrophe someday triumphantly shatter everything on the page around it and soar past you and your hair, streaks of ink finally fusing with the dusty, sun-warmed air to create that just-burst-out-of-the-book smell while leaping and climbing ever higher? It could. It totally could. Be ready.

This article is part of a series on punctuation. It’s pretty much all made up. Don’t underestimate the prowess of a panther, though. You’ve been warned.