Thursday, December 15, 2011


I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. When I was a kid, I resolved never to make another resolution, and I’ve never broken it. That does not mean, however, that I do not appreciate the need to identify and act upon necessary changes in my life. With the world as we know it scheduled for demise in the coming year, there is one pressing matter that I would be remiss if I left it unaddressed. That matter, of course, is the re-popularization of the interrobang.

Say what!?

Precisely! As a child of the sixties, I can attest that there was more than duck and cover drills, sonic booms, the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical Hair, a moon landing and one of the greatest collapses in major league baseball history. The sixties marked the rise of the interrobang. Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, it is categorically time for the interrobang to rise once again.

For the benefit of those two or three of you who aren’t familiar with the interrobang (despite the redoubtable legacy of No Child Left Behind), prepare to be awestruck. In these endtimes, it may become harder and harder to discern when and whether to use an interjection, an interrogatory, or both when texting, blogging, emailing, or otherwise reducing thoughts to written form. The solution to this quandry, as you’ve undoubtedly surmised, is the interrobang.

The interrobang, by far the most exciting advance in punctuation since the cedilla (setting aside the gnaborretni or inverted interrobang for use in Spanish), is an ingenious combination of the exclamation point and the question mark. At once, one can express both wonder and incredulity. The value of this time and labor saving device will prove immeasurable as time grows short. Just imagine, your BFF in Los Angeles sends you a text message, “WTF!?! Big One just hi....” If BFF had used an interrobang, then there would have been enough time to finish the message:  WTF

Big One just hit!”

By now, I'm certain you understand the implications of failing to act quickly to resurrect this paragon of punctuation. As the final moments approach, hundreds of millions of messages will fly through the aether and aethernet. Socially responsible use of the interrobang will remove literally millions of bytes of data from this torrent of messages, thereby forestalling the inevitable crash of the net and all telecommunications networks for incalculable, but invaluable microseconds. Remember—the missive you save may be your own!


  1. What a great post! As a fellow child of the sixties I identify with what you talk about very well. I went to see a production of 'Hair' at our local theatre. I was on the 4th row, and boy, was that an eye-opener! But I wish I had the interrobang on my keyboard. It could be really useful don't you think?! Ah well ...

  2. By the way I usually break my New Years Resolutions. They are mostly the same every year. However next year

  3. I understand, Naomi. I saw Hair at a theater in the round, with seats very close to the stage. In retrospect, the memorable performance of one unclad actress may have been responsible for more than the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius.