Really, how much extra would it cost to add a comma between "leash" and "curb"?

Inspired by this sign, I’m giving commas as gifts for National Punctuation Day, September 24.

Sure, I could wait to post. But with my erratic blogging it might be Halloween before I get around to it. Strike while the irony is hot, I say.

I had considered splurging this year, ordering umlauts in überbulk from Germany, but every day on my walk I see this sign and contemplate the senseless accidents caused by unleashed curbs.

Punctuation Day. What to give, what to give.

Colons? Undeniable ick factor.

Em dashes? Handy, yes, but it’s work sorting them from en dashes — I do this 2 p.m.–3 p.m. daily — and must-have hyphens. Also, nobody needs — or thanks you for — eyeball whiplash from too many abrupt stops — and starts — while reading.

Ampersands? Too easy to get carried away: “I have a big collection of ampersands & I’m going to use them for this & that & don’t try & stop me.”

Quotation marks? A set of single quotes can be a welcome gift because as someone noted — okay, it was I — “they fit ‘snugly’ within double quotes.” But you read a sentence like that and mentally see fingers forming “air quotes” and you want to scream, “Don’t do that! Ever, ever, ever!”

Which brings us to exclamation points! We’ve all been warned to use them sparingly, but e-mail and texting often beg for exclamation points to convey tone, especially among the emoticon disinclined. “Good job” seems cold and perfunctory, whereas “Good job!” warms the heart of the texted.

Question marks? Who doesn’t have enough?

So commas it is. (Unless I see an online special on parentheses.)

Here’s to an uncommonly fine National Punctuation Day. Does it call for period costumes?

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