It’s National Punctuation Day. And while didn’t get umlaut parades or semi-colon fly overs, Berkeley Breathed launched some fireworks in the latest strip in his revived Bloom County. Two of his characters do battle over the very real and comically raging debate over the number of spaces after a period. Old typesetting technology made two spaces a necessity to keep words from running together. Computer technology has eliminated that need, but the double space has persisted, out of habit for some, out of a deep-seated matter of propriety for others.
Personally, I could go either way. Except that the proponents of the single space that I’ve come across have been such arrogant, overly vehement snobs that I want to cling to the double space just to make them angry. Honestly, if an extra sixteenth of an inch after a period is such a burden on your poor precious eyes, maybe the very act of reading is something you might want to reconsider. And don’t try to ply me with how it’s less effort to only hit the space bar once. I may not be an Olympian, but I can handle a little extra tapping on a piece of plastic, thank you very much.
Now, you want to talk about a crime: “We love the 80’s.”
Oh yeah? You love the 80’s what? What does the number 80 own that you love so much? Because that’s what that is. It’s possessive. You’re not talking about a collection of years, you’re talking about a number somehow owning something. It should be “80s”. If you absolutely feel the need to add an apostrophe in there, it put it in front to show you lopped off the “19”. Look at it this way: if you spelled it out, would it be “Eighties” or “Eightie’s”? Yes, “80s” makes my spellcheck go off, but you know what? My spellcheck is a blind, malfunctioning collection of bits that doesn’t know its ampersand from a hole in the ground. The revolution starts here, people.
And you couldn’t tell, but there were two spaces after that last period.