Today I had an interlude of giggling at a Wikipedia entry. It’s not as ridiculous as it may sound. I was looking up what an “Oxford comma” is (turns out it’s the comma you may, or may not, have been taught to put after the second-last item in a list). This little research was inspired by the song “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend, which I was listening to just prior. I need to include a warning with my glowing recommendation: I think it’s a great song, but it does include a lot of repeats of a certain word beginning with F. Not quite as amusingly as Eric Idle’s FCC song but more cheerily. The same warning applies to the FCC song but, in addition, this one contains no small political bias, expressed in terms not calculated to avoid giving offence.
So through a quirk of my mp3 player’s random playlist I ended up at my desk laughing out loud at the section on how the inclusion of the Oxford (or Serial, or Harvard) comma can, in some situations, resolve ambiguity in lists, and in others, create ambiguity, and how some lists cannot, tragically, be rendered unambiguous by either its exclusion or its inclusion. This section happens to kick off with an educational example from Teresa Nielsen Hayden, whose web writings I’ve enjoyed since before I could bring myself to say the word “blog” without putting sarcastic finger-quotes around it or pronouncing it “blaaauuughh.”
I may have been a little giddy from my election hangover. “Election hangover” is my short form for the fatigue experienced by those who stayed up a bit late last night watching the results and commentary as the votes were being counted. In our house, at least, there was no alcohol involved. See how efficient it is to have a dedicated term to express such an idea more concisely?
On my way home tonight I had the FCC song in my head, and after being bullied a few times by impatient car drivers I found myself whistling it the rest of the way home. I can’t decide if this is likely to have generated a lot of bad karma or if it actually cast a protective aura about me for the duration of my ride. I’m inclined to think the latter, as it’s an upbeat tune, my mood improved markedly, and I even think I noticed blackbirds singing along and flying alongside me. And I made it home in one piece despite everyone else’s election hangover.