While grading papers next to a fellow teacher, I grew disgusted at a paper I was reading. "Read this," I said, tossing it to the fellow teacher. "What?!" the other teacher exclaimed. "He owns a gun?... He shot his cousin in the 'ass' with a gun?!" Startled, I sputtered, "Yeah, that's pretty bad." See, the truth is, that wasn't what I was fixated on. I'm ashamed to admit it, but the violent content in this supposedly humorous autobiographical narrative did not register with me in the slightest. Instead, I had freaked out about the fact that this page-long essay was composed of one run-on sentence. Sure, it's liberal with the commas, but where are the periods? Hell, there wasn't even a single period: the sentence ended without any punctuation, meaning it wasn't given a proper rest even after hundreds of words!

The funny thing is, and you can probably tell, that I'm still worked up about the run-on sentence business. Who does that?! Perhaps more importantly, who shoots his cousin in the ass and declares it funny? But I don't know how I would even try to deal with that. I prefer problems that I can fix with a red pen.

No comments: