Verbal punctuation disorders
I’ve always rather envied people who answer the phone as though they were shouting at themselves. “Hello BobBobson!” they shout (when they’re name is Bob Bobson, as it so often is). You can hear the uncompromising masculinity of the exclamation mark and, secretly, you want to be them. Failing that, skinning them and wearing them like a hairy geezer-suit would probablysuffice.
I was born, tragically, without an exclamation mark. The condition was compounded in adolescence when I developed inverted commas and a pronounced question mark which has worsened into adulthood. It’s got to the stage where people aren’t sure whether I’m even real.
“Hello? ‘Alex Manya’?” I say
“Fuck no! This is Bob Bobson!” says Bob Bobson, all exclamey and testicular.
“Sorry, no… I mean I’m ‘Alex Manya’?” I clarify, silently damning my question mark.
“Were they inverted commas you just put around your name!?” exclaims Bob, who has impressive punctuational listening skills, particularly over the phone. “You’re a weird, little piss-hole of a man and I’m gonna take you off my cold-calling list just as soon as I’ve sold you an anal indemnity policy or two!”
I never buy the policy, but regret it when I’m being sued for emotional damage by means of gaseous expulsions.