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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Space Age (It's Not What You Think)

     This Wimp-out Wednesday is devoted to a discussion of whether or not there should be one space or two after a period. The change in direction comes as a result of my ennui. My job hunt has gone stale, as has my work in progress. Besides, I have always loved the word ennui. My first exposure to it came as a result of being in the play Anything Goes. I memorized all of the phenomenal Cole Porter lyrics during my brilliant stint as a passenger on the ship. (Yes, that is another way of saying I was an extra.) Ennui is from I Get a Kick Out of You. Isn't it cool? Ennui Ennui Ennui.
Not this Space!
Now back to spaces after periods. I vote one, but never felt too passionate about it until I saw this blog. (Nothing Says Over Forty Like Two Spaces After a Period) The blogger treats the extra space as some kind of writing (typing?) tell that, once noticed by the young 'uns of the world, pegs the writer (typist) as A Person Over Forty.
     I call bullshit. I know a lot of 35-year-olds who learned the exact same rule. Last I checked, they are considered to be under forty (unless someone has fiddled with the rules of number progression while I was knitting in my creaky rocking chair). I resented that this blogger was manipulating the debate to make it more about generational differences than industry standards. In my opinion, she was inciting drama where there should've been none. Calling people old.
That Space!
     For a nanosecond, I felt as if leaving two spaces after periods belied my age as blatantly as the wrinkles around my eyes. I was humiliated, wondering if I'd left any of these tell-tale spaces in the manuscripts I'd sent to agents and publishers. Was everyone laughing at me behind my back?
     She's too old to be an author! In the slush pile with her! 
     I mean, I learned the one way, but I'd changed my habits to stay in tune with the ever-evolving industry of communication that I love so much. I prided myself on being Madonna-esque in adapting. (Oops! Another age-belying slip.) Discovered Find/Replace (It changed my life.) In fact, I recommend it to the twenty-something office worker who griped on facebook about how hard it was to go through old documents and make the change. After all, Find/Replace would be quicker than begging all the teachers of the world to pass the one-space rule on to their students. (Then again, it is pretty tedious to drag down that menu. Aw, heck, why not just wait the multiple decades it would take for turnaround?)
     Thanks to this blog's bullying title, I was briefly ashamed of my over-forty status. But then I realized this: Nothing says under forty like suffering from the delusion that you can appear to be an age you're not. I've worked in advertising long enough to know that much. My advice to younger generations (and it is sage advice): Don't fall for it.
     On the record, the rule seems to be: One space in publishing, online writing and advertising. Two spaces in engineering, law and academia. Like many things in life, it really has nothing to do with age.

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