Together We Can Make a Difference

I'm here to talk to you today about a serious problem that plagues millions of people, and their loved ones, every year. It's an addiction that causes denial and shame, although sometimes delusions of grandeur. It's important, it's timely, and it's something people are afraid to talk about. It's the overuse of punctuation that allows asides (namely parentheses and commas). And as a long-time sufferer I'm prepared to break the ice today. It's time to take charge and break the cycle.

I think it stems from a deep-rooted problem that doctors call "Randomitis." There have been countless charity runs, penny drives, and benefit dinners, but researchers have yet to determine the cause or a cure. Its major symptom? The need to constantly insert information that is off topic, additional, or just plain off in right-fucking-field.

Most victims try to hide the tell-tale markers in public. They spend so much time during the day focusing on relevant subjects that when they get home their loved ones are subjected to a barrage of randomness (or, in some cases, their blog-readers). Sometimes they post things on Facebook, for example "I think marsupials are neat" or they may text their husbands "I really feel like funnel cake" for no obvious reason at all.

The initial diagnoses frequently comes from a writing sample. Skilled professionals watch for the tell-tale signs of Randomitis by searching for the punctuation marks mentioned before: commas and parentheses (please note that commas used for lists or for the insertion of a conjunction are not considered a symptom, nor are parentheses used for citation purposes). They determine whether the asides are necessary, on topic, and frequent through a complex scoring rubric that I'll spare you the details of. After the initial consultation, a diagnosis (Randomitis Stage I, II or III) is issued, and a treatment regimen created. Generally, this includes a cap on the amount of asides allowed per page, shock collars for verbal offenses, and, in the most severe cases, severing the corpus collusum (since everyone knows that parentheses and commas travel across it during the episodes of neuro-instablity that cause Randomitis).

What does the future hold for those of us who experience overuse of randomness-derived parentheses and commas? Time will only tell. So keep on walking those 5ks, buying tickets for mediocre black tie dinners, and bidding on weird flower arrangements at auctions, because together we can make a difference.