My friend Mary Anne, a retired journalist and editor, took me to task one morning at the church office for my use of exclamation points in my writing. “Did you ever think about using words to express yourself rather than exclamation points?” she asked. It’s just the kind of blunt question I’d expect from a reporter and I loved it.
I replied with a grin, “The only reason why I use so many exclamation points is because English punctuation hasn’t provided me anything stronger.”
Later it occurred to me that I was correct, not merely sarcastic. The English language is reported to have the largest vocabulary of any modern, living language, but it’s punctuation marks have not changed in centuries.
There are 14 punctuation marks commonly used: the period, the question mark, the comma, semicolon, colon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, apostrophe, quotation marks, ellipsis, and the exclamation mark. Nothing more.
Yet, we English-speakers are quick to adopt or invent a word to suit our purposes, from Milton’s “pandemonium” in Paradise Lost to the hipster lingo such as “hangry”. So, why can’t I create a new punctuation mark that exceeds the strength of the traditional exclamation mark? No reason that I can think of! So, dear readers, I present to you for the first time in history the newest addition to English punctuation: “lightening point”.
It will revolutionize the language and literature of the world. No more need for multiple exclamation points to end a sentence, or all those pesky adjectives and adverbs to clutter up the copy. The lightening point will take our thoughts and prayers to new heights of passion. With the stroke of one key, all kinds of new meaning can be expressed. For example:
“But Lydia, darling, I love you⚡️”
“You dirty rat⚡️ I’m gonna drill you full of lead⚡️”
See? The meaning and intensity of such mundane and trite are elevated to new levels of emotion and truth. I use emoji lightening bolts in my copy here, as my lightening point does not exist in my word processing program. I am currently in negotiations with several companies to remedy the situation.
One issue they raise is the keyboard. Currently, keyboards use the universal qwerty arrangement of letters, punctuation, and symbols on the billions of keyboards out there. “How do you propose solve that problem?” they ask.
I have the solution: we get rid of the letter “q”.
Q is an unnecessary letter and not very attractive looking anyway. Capitalized, it looks like an O with a cigarette in its mouth, and a lower case q looks like a lower case g that threw its back out. It can be replaced easily with the letter K. We can replace the q key with a lightening point key, saving those billions of keyboards, and start spelling words with a “kw” instead of “qu”, like kwick, kwiet, and kwilt “. Most words look much more attractive with the letter K in it anyway, like, say, Kevin.
So, I’ve solved all the outstanding issues and we now can proceed to use the lightening point as the newest edition to punctuation. It will be historic ⚡️ Revolutionary, even⚡️ A hundred years from now, Alex Trebeck will ask the question on Final Jeopardy, “The year the lightening point was invented”, and the answer will be “2018⚡️”