By: A semicolon
Hi, semicolon here; you’ve probably heard of me. You’ve also probably used me to show off on numerous occasions. Yeah, I’m onto you. You think that sprinkling me in liberally throughout your essays and papers will make you look like a literary Albert Einstein. You’re pretty damn sure that inserting me into a Facebook comment makes you automatically smarter and more sophisticated than your boorish peers that hammer away with their proletariat punctuation. But it doesn’t. It just makes you look like you’re saying “Hey, look at me and my college education! I’m well-read! I’m cultured! I’m an elitist douchebag!”
It’s kind of ironic that I’m arguing against my own importance as a barometer of intelligence and literary polish, but it just pisses me off to see all of you grammar dweebs using me as some sort of status symbol. You scoff when I’m used incorrectly in lieu of a comma. You shudder when I get swapped in for a colon. Or pretend to shudder, I should say, because secretly you’re thrilled that you have yet one more opportunity to put yourself on a little throne of correctness and look down your glasses-clad noses at anyone failing to meet your frighteningly arbitrary criteria for cleverness. You are know-it-alls. You are insufferable.
If you are going to use me, do it right. I am not the main course. I am the garnish. I am to be used frugally and functionally. If there are two clauses that are not independent enough to warrant separate sentences, but would sound awkward when joined with a contraction, THAT’S when you plop me in there. Not to grandstand, not to showboat. I am a piece of punctuation, not a self-confidence booster; it’s time people start respecting that.