Eats, Shoots and Leaves (and the importance of Silent Laughter)

So yesterday I went to the doctor. I don't know about you but when I'm waiting for my turn, I need to entertain myself. Sometimes I'd play a word game on my phone but that makes me dizzy and incoherent when it's finally my turn at the doc's office. So lately I've been reading during the wait.

I read a couple of books at a given time. Right now I'm interchanging The Mossad: Israel's Secret Intelligence Service by Dennis Eisenberg, Uri Dan and Eli Landau, Heat by Bill Buford (on his stint as an apprentice in Mario Batali's kitchen) and Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. If you put all those three together, you'd have a kitchen secrets spy who sidelines as hitman targeting those who err perennially with their punctuation.

So it came about that my companion yesterday was Ms. Truss' punctuation book. You'd have to read it to understand the full context of the next paragraph.

It started with a little suppressed giggle. I'd bite my lip and cover my face with the book as I regained composure. I'd read on... bite my lip again and wipe my now-watery eyes. Soon enough the bottled in laughter just couldn't be held back and I just couldn't help but laugh full on, but without any sound. Still, my shoulders were shaking violently (even more violently because I was trying to control it) and I hid behind the hardbound book. There was no way to hide from my seatmates that I had gone bonkers. Here I was all alone, reading a book with two innocent-looking pandas on the cover, and I'm laughing my brains out soundlessly. It was embarrassing. But fun.

It was such a delicious time of silent laughter that I wanted to write Ms. Truss and send her a hug.

Here's an excerpt; where she gives examples of the misuse of the apostrophe:

Singular possessive instead of plural possessive:
Pupil's entrance (on a very selective school, presumably)
Adult Learner's Week (lucky him)
Nude Reader's Wives (intending "Readers' Nude Wives", of course, but conjuring up an interesting picture of polygamous nude reader attended by middle-aged women in housecoats and fluffy slippers)

I know... what a nerdy thing to read right? But it's a fun read and a great way to learn about punctuation. After all, what a confusing time we'd all have if we didn't have apostrophes, commas, full stops, etc. My oh my. Okay... that was nerdy.


GINA said...

This is one of my favorite books! I keep a copy of it on my office desk. =)

Punctuation is so unappreciated by most. And abused as well.

If you had to identify your favorite punctuation mark, what would it be?

Mine would be the semi-colon. =)

makes coffee nervous said...

isn't it such an insane book? i don't think i've guffawed this much over a book in a very very long time. and the craziest thing about it is it's a punctuation book!!! ano ba! haha!

i love the semi-colon too! great aid for my kilometric sentences. haha! i'm sure husbands hate it though. :)