The Bang

The exclamation mark? I…whatever. It’s probably some kind of specter in the world of punctuation? Something mysterious. Not that it makes a difference.

Well, it’s silly. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. What in the world is it for? Nothing. The world is written in questions (isn’t it?), not shrieks and battle cries. The exclamation mark is a renegade, trying to force its way into conversations where it isn’t even wanted. The exclamation mark fights with overly large plastic knives when it should have retreated to the corner long ago and just patiently waited to be written over in a hurried manner as, maybe, I don’t know, some kind of h or something, how else would the word bokeh even be around, right?

The exclamation mark is not a professional. It can’t be. Origins on the beach? Seen by a foolish few as a mark that would signal the “revitalization of punctuation”? As delightfully harmonious as that phrase is, the exclamation mark fell into the position it is in now because some small child needed to scribble something in the sand to distract the fast approaching sand panthers. Kid could’ve drawn about anything with the same result. Why a line and a dot? Because it’s easy. Because it’s cheap.

Look, don’t think I’m getting excited about this whole matter.

It’s not even a matter. It’s hardly whole.

I don’t care that it’s useful in number theory (zero factorial is one? All right, that’s not bad). I don’t care that it can signify a logical negation. Is there such a thing as a factorial of a negation of a remark about your sleeves that was screamed from across the street by a chili vendor? No…What? No, of course there isn’t.

There isn’t any such thing because it was never meant to be. The exclamation mark has no place here. Has everyone been waiting for a love story between the exclamation mark and, what, the slash, guys? No. Can I say “no” any more emphatically? YES. YES I CAN. EMPHASIS OBTAINED.

[Editor’s note: The author continued to use caps lock in a highly uncivilized manner in the paragraphs that followed (and sheesh, there were so many). These have been retracted as it was not cool (also, sheesh, so many). The views and opinions of the author are not our own and do not represent our attitude towards just about anything? That should cover it, right? I’m not the one being attacked by sand panthers from the future.]

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.