Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

April 24, 2014

Dick Wolfsie: In a perpetual comma

I misplace a lot of things: Keys wallet gloves the dog’s leash. Recently I misplaced something that may not seem very important unless you read that last sentence carefully. Then you will realize that believe it or not I can’t find my comma.

Yes it’s true. The comma on the keypad of my iPhone simply disappeared. I will say this: I am very troubled. Where did it go? I don’t know; I still have plenty of other punctuation marks—which I really enjoy using. But I want my comma back!!!

There has been a lot written about how a comma can change the meaning of a sentence. A bestselling book titled Eats Shoots and Leaves actually has a comma after the word “Eats” describing a murderer who pauses for a snack before firing at his intended victim. Without the comma it’s a simple description of the dietary habits of a Koala.

So where did my comma go? I went to the store where I purchased my cell phone and asked the sales rep John. “Wow that’s a new one on me” he said. Is it really that important to have a comma on your phone?”

“Yes it’s important. You can’t write a newspaper column without commas (as I’m attempting to do now) at least I don’t think so.”

John was perplexed so he fiddled with the phone and then said:

“I can’t find the comma anywhere but I can get you another couple of periods. Would that make you happy?”

“I don’t want any more periods. I have enough trouble finishing a sentence and anyway…”

“I’m still not sure why this is such a big problem for you but I do admit it is weird Mr. Wolfsie.”

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