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Saturday, July 26, 2008


Yesterday in Prague, the venerable International Punctuation Organization (I.P.O) bestowed its highest and rarest honor on playwright Bruce J. Robinson. He was named a "Master of the Modern Semi-Colon." Robinson has been anointed as before him was the blind genius John Milton, the magnificent myth-spinner Joseph Campbell, and THE LOVE BOAT's Fred Grandy.

The first part of the ceremony is secret - though its rumored that a primary ingredient is polenta. Addressing a crowd that numbered in the tens, Robinson was deeply moved. He said that he'd always revered the semi-colon.

"Punctuation is one way that the playwright communicates to the performers. Of course, they rarely listen. After all, they are actors."

He extolled the semi-colon as a way to arbitrate lists that included subjects that demanded commas (i.e. That's my brother, with the pig under his arm; my old wife, with the smile; and my new one, with the angry sneer). He further aggrandized the punctuation mark's capacity to balance two independent clauses that demanded commas (i.e. I went to Franklin & Marshall College, in Lancaster; and I studied with Roger Rollin, a great man).

"Do not fear the semi-colon!" he invoked in a stentorian voice that sent shivers down the backbones of the crowd - that had, by this time, swollen to thirteen. He acknowledged that the mighty colon is always thought of as the most-powerful mark within the sentence, and that's rightly so.

Nevertheless; he asserted that if the colon is the "Babe Ruth of punctuation," then the semi-colon is a proud "Lou Gehrig." There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Robinson, capturing the enigmatic essence of the semi-colon in his body language, intoned: "I consider myself the luckiest punctuation mark... ark... ark... on the face of the Earth... Earth... Earth..."

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