In the punctuation wars, Miss E.’s granddaughter Penelope has long been her best ally, roaming the Upper West Side on weekends and chronicling each egregious mistake spotted–making return visits to the offenders by night, her trusty stepladder in the backseat of the Subaru, her purse full of bottles of correcting fluid (a full supply of which is kept on hand for use with the Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter). Last year, however, Penelope read about her kindred spirit across the pond, Bristol’s punctuation vigilante and his long-handled “apostrophiser, ” and then encountered a bit of negative press about him (his actions might be considered condescending, and sometimes muck up the signage).
“I’m having somewhat of an existential crisis,” Penelope confessed to Miss English last week. “Something of an existential crisis,” her grandmother responded distractedly. Two eternal seconds passed before Penelope bravely spoke again. “Apparently, both are now considered correct. And you know,” she added, apparently seized by an ambition to make matters worse, “the Oxford English Dictionary does updates every quarter. Some of your peeves might be a bit outdated.” I don’t believe they’ve spoken since, but I’m sure it will pass.