Friday, November 19, 2010

Cheap Thrills

Yesterday, I was trying to purchase a drink from a vending machine. I slid my relatively crisp dollar bill into the slot, and, as I am sure we have all experienced, it spit the dollar right back out at me. I smoothed the dollar out and tried it again, but again the machine spit it back out. After the second rejection, this thought actually went through my mind: “In this economy, the vending machine shouldn’t be so picky.”

Although the bad economy has affected some of us far more severely than others, I think it’s safe to say that the economy has had an effect on most of our psyches.

To cope, we’ve been embracing relatively cheap diversions that make us feel good. According to the Huffington Post, the following industries have experienced a spike: family movies, donuts, fireworks and gum.

It makes sense. Nothing on the list costs too much (especially if you sneak the donuts into the theater instead of buying a $10.00 bag of popcorn), and each product either makes us feel good or gives us a little spark of excitement.

Well, I would like to propose an addition to the list of cheap thrills: exclamation points.

Every time I read about exclamation points in a grammar book, the author warns us not overuse them. And, under healthy economic conditions, I totally agree with that. But, while everything else is so dreary, why not make writing feel more exciting?

Exclamation marks are like punctuation fireworks.

They’re fun! They’re cute!! They’re exciting!!! They’re free!!!!!!!!

And I promise that when the economy has recovered, I will do my part in reinstating exclamation point limitations. After I have returned from my Mediterranean holiday on my yacht, of course.

What cheap thrills have helped you through the recession?


Jeffrey Beesler said...

How dare that vending machine act like that in this economy? I agree, it shouldn't be so darn picky! What if the maintenance technician who comes to work on it can't because the cost of repairing the machine is one dollar more than what the tech has on hand? Did the machine stop to consider that?!

And exclamation points are fun! I really like being able to unleash the power of the exclamation like you have! Thank you so much!

kathryn said...

Only you could view the angst one feels from a snooty vending machine as the making of a future blog post...and make it about grammar as well.

Kudos to you for this (Exclamation point)

BTW: You've made me want popcorn. I've just popped a bag. Thanks for that...

Rick said...

You know what's free? FRIDAYS!!!!!!! (and all caps, now that I think about it.) Have a great weekend!!!!

Janette Dolores said...

What cheap thrills have helped me through the recession? Signing up for Netflix and Facebook. Oh wait, I mean, signing up for Netflix and Facebook!! Thanks for asking!! (I am suddenly finding that the overuse of exclamation points is making me feel younger than my age. A girl can get used to this! Let's ixnay on reinstating the imitationslay.)

The Shanner of Attention said...

YES!!! My name is Shannon and I'm an extreme exclamation point user! I've accepted this fact, and now that I have your approval, I'm ready to take on the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gorilla Bananas said...

The problem with them is they make you sound like and excited groupie talking to a rock star.

Anonymous said...

That's one of the things I like about not having paper 1 dollar bills up here anymore; no more vending machines that spit out bills.
Hmmm, as for cheap thrills...dollar store craft supplies. Making stuff for other people always made me feel better. - G
(I like that TWO!! of your followers use an exclamation mark as their avatar!!!!!!)

Joanna St. James said...

hmmnn while you bask in happy exclamationland, the rest of us will keep in mind the fact that editors and agents hate exclamation marks.
Since the recession I have been handed a budget which i honestly try to work with.

Rachael said...

This cracked me up! And I can support a temporary surge in use of the exclamation point, as long as it does not become an even more permanent fixture of today's written word.

Theresa Milstein said...

My cheap recession thrill? I haven't taken part in the liberal use of exclamation point phenomenon, but I may change my behavior after reading this post. Do you see two of your followers have exclamation points? I see what you mean. Maybe I should replace my picture with an exclamation point, or two, or three.

notesfromnadir said...

"They’re fun! They’re cute!! They’re exciting!!! They’re free!!!!!!!!"

Memorable quote you provided. It's unbelievable how many of these suckers I've seen online. Maybe there should be a charge for 'em, especially when used in multitude. I've even seen 'em in the middle of sentences & parentheses.

In answer to your question, I like cheap chocolate Christmas candy. Mini Reeses's cups, kisses, small chocolate bars. The amount of chocolate is negligible, but talk about a sugar rush!

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would have been able to cope without the letter "F".

WalksLikeAnEgyptian said...


Sex can be fun, cute, exciting, and free!!!!! All at the same time!!

crysy92 said...

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares!!! And, of course, exclamation points. One last thing, library books.