Friday, April 9, 2010

THE MISSING PERIOD

It was a print ad I wrote, I don’t remember the product or the headline, the only thing that sticks in my mind was the missing period.

How glaring, I stood in my art director’s office, looking at the proof. The ad was soon to be released in magazines nationally, and it was possibly good enough to end up in my portfolio; but not like this: Initial cap., comma in the middle, zero period; such an appalling error.

But it wasn’t an error. My supervisor was miffed when I called it out to the brand team asking that it be fixed before it was released to publications, headhunters, my Grandmother, for god sakes.

He called me out in the hallway, wild west style, what the fuck did I think I was doing, alarming the whole team. "I took it off," he boasted. “It looked like shit just hangin' there under the ‘r'." "But it's incorrect," I corrected him. He remained steadfast. “I've always said, I’m not a fan of punctuation,” said the writer/supervisor, what do you say to that. “But it’s just incorrect. It’s clearly a sentence, a long one at that, initial cap, comma, then nothing, it looks like we screwed up,” I said, trying to communicate my point in a non-threatening manner with an undercurrent of you are a total jackass.

His face reddened, his voice began to shake, a crowd was gathering, it was only the young art director on the project – quiet, eyes a-bulge under her shaggy bangs – waiting to see who would throw the next punch.

He spewed irrationally, like a child, or a lawyer who was losing their case, “Well,how would YOU have it? Why settle for a period, why not go for an exclamation mark?! Hell, TWO exclamation marks, a period, and QUOTATIONS.” His head looked left and right and left again, as though there were more me’s flying in and around him like incoming fighter pilots. He continued on about the disaster I had created, how ridiculous my point about the period was – his blood pressure rising, face twitching, eyes darting, voice warbling. “Doug,” I soothed him feignedly, “calm down, it’s only a period," I walked away, acknowledging defeat.

And to this day that missing period still haunts me. It’s the one that got away.

That period represents my pride as a wordsmith, the period is the only punctuation I truly understand its proper use and placement, please – do not take that away from me. Secondly, there are few times in your life that you can claim absolute correctness about anything; a period at the end of a sentence is one of them. And when this man took away my period he took away all sense of control. It was only after that little period went missing that I realized just how big it really was.

8 comments:

  1. those seemingly little losses make those copywriter angels shed a tear every time...*sigh*
    -susan p

    ReplyDelete
  2. ah, Susan.... good to know they are hovering....

    ReplyDelete
  3. that is crazy... Never thought such craze would go over a period... I would have put the damn period and I myself am on the art side. It just makes sense... its a sentence ad theres a comma... put a damn period! lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. The reminds me, I have a present I need to email you.

    Ps. We need to get together, I have so much bullshit I need to tell you.

    PPS. Droopey is lookin' even more homeless these days.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hahahaaa... I almost miss Droopey, who woulda thunk.... you gotz my email address.....

    ReplyDelete