Anti-Oxford Comma

Yes, it’s true. I am anti-oxford comma.

There, I said it.

I feel much better now.

Do you still like me?

Are you going to unfriend me?

Unsubscribe to my blog?

Call my mom and tell on me?

All of the above?

For those unfamiliar with this ongoing debate, this discretionary punctuation mark has caused quite an uproar in writing workshops, high-school English classrooms, and even courtrooms around the country. It is a fight to the death over whether or not a comma needs to precede the last element in a series – like red, white and blue.

Does it make your skin crawl that I didn’t use an Oxford comma just now? I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Baby, I was born this way.

I know I’m in the minority here. Lots of people disagree with me. Even Grammarly is against me. Every mistake it catches in this post is comma-related. Hey! I pay for Grammarly premium. I expect a special setting for comma preferences with my subscription.

Here is the tricky part. As a non-profit communications professional, I am obligated to follow the style guide assigned to me by the powers that be. If they follow the Associated Press (AP) style guide – as many sensible organizations do – AP is much more liberal and doesn’t care whether you use it as long as you pick a side and remain consistent throughout the document. It’s very democratic, and I, for one, am quite pleased with this compromise. There is no judgment. No muss. No fuss. No tracked changes or vetoes from the majority. Everyone is happy.

I mean, really, doesn’t this make sense? Can’t we all just get along?

Unfortunately, the non-profit I currently work for uses the Chicago Manual of Style guide (UGH!), which strictly forbids omitting said (and sad) serial comma. This means that if I want to get paid, I must relinquish my inherent – and practically religious – belief on this issue and acquiesce.

After all, I have two children to put through college. I can be a team player. And I’ll just save my recreational, controversial and reckless anti-oxford comma activities for my blog and someday my book.

Unless I find an editor who is pro-Oxford comma, then we may have a problem.

P.S. – I hope this doesn’t change things between us. I still love you regardless of your punctuation preferences. No matter how misguided they may be. 😉

Put This On My Tombstone

Years ago, I used to have a job at my synagogue organizing their events. Clipboard in hand and an envelope of checks in my pocket, I used to refer to myself as the cruise director of the congregation. At the end of every dinner, program, fundraiser, lecture, or Chanukkah party, I’d station myself at the front door to say goodbye to the attendees. Not wanting to sound like the flight attendants on SNL who shooed passengers off the plane saying “buh-bye, buh-bye, buh-bye.” I opted for a simpler catchphrase – Thanks for coming.

One night after a particularly long and hectic day, Mr. K approached me at my post with an amused look on his face.

“That should be on your tombstone,” he said to me.

I looked at him confused – not fully understanding what he was talking about. Mr. K. had a weird sense of humor.

“Thanks for coming; that should be engraved on your tombstone.”

At first, I thought that was a weird and random thing to say. We didn’t know each other well enough to discuss my plans for the afterlife. But the more I think about it, I kind of like it.

Cemeteries are sad places, and no one really wants to be here. What if someone sees that sentiment on my tombstone, gets the irony, and lets out a chuckle? Thanks for coming would be a sincere appreciation from me to the living who came for a brief visit. And how nice it would be for me to know that I can still spread a little joy to someone from the great beyond.

Is Laundry a Love Language?

I’m reading this book called “Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore.” Does the mere title of this book make you chuckle or snort indignantly?

Is it even possible to feel happiness while sorting, washing, drying, ironing, and putting everyone’s clothes away? I was intrigued but skeptical.

I don’t see laundry as a sparking joy in my life. If I had to “Marie Kondo” household chores, cooking would come in first, laundry second, and decluttering a distant third. But then, I’d be hungry, naked, and up to my eyeballs in junk mail. So, I’m willing to keep an open mind.

Right now, I am backed up on laundry. I recently had a knock-down, dragged-out fight with the garbage disposal and lost. Apparently, the combination of green beans, carrots, and corn kernels does not go down easily. I managed to clog up the pipes, which turned out to be connected to the basin, making it impossible to run laundry. We tried to resolve the problem ourselves with Draino and that sink snake thingy. When that didn’t work, we called the plumber to come and fix the sink. (Are there any Electric Company fans out there?).

Anyway – $175 later – I now have a working drain and started to do the first of several loads of laundry. My family is happy to know that they will be able to start the week with clean underwear.

Wait a minute…

Is this why laundry could be considered a love language? Is it because I show the people I love how much I care for them by ensuring that they have clean clothes to wear? Is agreeing to take on such a long and thankless (not to mention never-ending) chore really an act of kindness? I suppose it’s possible.

As I read more about love languages, I found out that “acts of service” like lightening the load (not the laundry load – but the workload) or doing something helpful without being asked is indeed an act of love. So, maybe fluffing towels and changing bedsheets is my way of telling my family that I love them.

Ugh, couldn’t I just take them out for a nice dinner or buy them something they really want instead? Like a pony or a car?

Whether laundry brings me joy or not – as the book promises – remains to be seen. But this epitome that I have come to as I write this blog makes me want to keep reading.

What do you think? Does laundry bring you joy? Is it your family’s love language? Do tell in the comments below.

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