ABL (Always Be Learnin’)
Despite four years of college and employment as an Editor at both the College Board and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (then just Harcourt), I didn’t learn the difference between hyphens and em dashes until Crawdaddy! hired me as a blogger last year. Don’t ask why—you’re talking to the same fool who still has to consult Google to figure out the time difference between New York and California every time he has to call Los Angeles or San Francisco. Some knowledge just slips through the cracks, or simply can’t be retained.
The evidence of my sad hyphen/em dash ignorance is all over JG2Land. While I firmly believe language is a thing to be teased and played with and that rules in general were made to be broken, when I go back and see that I was using hyphens in place of em dashes…well, at this juncture, it just bothers me. It screams something false. I gotta go back and fix all that baloney, especially if places like Slate are going to insist on linking to pieces from the Pre Em Dash Knowledge Era (I have of course corrected the post in question, “Seven Ridiculous-Ass Sequels Hollywood Almost Foisted Upon Us,” lest Slate’s readership think I some sort of buffoon).
Side note: It’s a really nice feeling to be cited. Thanks, Slate. I feel validated. I am a reliable source when it comes to never-produced Back to the Future prequels, not to mention never-fulfilled Mickey Rooney Jaws cameos.
Another thing Crawdaddy! taught me: Words (like that one!) should be capitalized after colons. I’m not as dumbstruck by that grammatical revelation—I actually kinda disagree with it—but it still proves you can always be learnin’ no matter how accomplished you perceive yourself to be in your respective field. To think, I interviewed the Encyclopedia Britannica Kid for Geek Monthly, and I had no idea what was going on with hyphens, em dashes, or capitalization after colons. How was I not drummed out the door like so much fast food refuse?