This will not surprise any of my regular readers (either of you) but I was raised by a mother who was a professional editor. For the most part this served me well. I’m nearly certain it was my perfect grammar on my college essays that gained me admittance to a few top schools. Either that or it was my insightful essay in response to the question “write about a modern problem.” I wrote about voter apathy and opined that a well-functioning democracy needed high voter turnout and U.S. voter participation was too low. But voter turnout was at record highs in 2008 and 2012 and we ended up with Barack Obama so there goes that theory.
I write today because I think the most serious modern problem facing America and perhaps other English language speaking countries is the death of the comma. Seriously go read the text messages from your kids. I defy you to find a single comma even where one is desperately needed. Back in the halcyon days of my mobile phone usage when I had a Blackberry this used to really annoy me. Why I would ask myself couldn’t my kids remember where to put a comma? After all I paid for some pretty fancy private schools for these little brats. I’m nearly certain they were taught basic grammar somewhere along the line. Then I realized that like so many other things in life it’s all Apple’s fault.
On that grim day when I switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone I gained access to a whole new array of cool apps but I killed my comma. Why you ask? Because typing a comma on the iPhone requires an extra key stroke that adds a full second to the time it takes to type a comma. Thus a text message with two or three commas might take 10 seconds instead of just 7 or 8. Who the hell has time like that on their hands? Not me and certainly not a busy 15 year old.
So I’m sad to admit that I have joined the no comma crowd thereby ensuring it’s final demise. Sorry mom.
*For extra credit go back and add all the commas I left out of this post.