What’s up with the Asterisk*
*I used to think it was the parenthetical phrase that bothered me the most when I read a story. Especially in a story without humor, the writer feels the need to duck (quack quack) quickly out of their prose to insert an inappropriate and ill-timed stab at humor. And then (oh my god, I’m going to slit my wrists if another side note is added inside a pair of parenthesis) along comes the Asterisk.
Now I’m no rocket scientist (never was good with geology**), but it’s my opinion (and there are two “I’s” in opinion so I must be correct) if you can’t convey what you’re trying say inside of a sentence then you should not be allowed to use an asterisk*****.
Certainly, the asterisk does have its proper place. For instance, use an asterisk to let the reader know you’re not a plagiarist. Like Jesus****** said, “Don’t steal.”
Now that was short (like your penis) and to the point. Who is Jesus? Some Muslim might ask himself, but by checking Asterisk #6 he would quickly learn Jesus is one of the characters from the Bible.
Keep in mind it’s not the proper use of an asterisk where I find issue, it’s when the side note of an asterisk becomes a paragraph*******. And if you read an asterisked paragraph, they all end the same—with some witty final sentence to sum up the authors take on their unnecessary aside.
I don’t know when the dam broke and unleashed the tidal wave of asterisks into the modern novel, but I vow that if I ever write a book it won’t have exclamation marks or Asterisks*********.
** Geology is the study of rocks. Not rockets.***
***When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut (I never told this to anyone, because I was afraid they would think what I really wanted be was an ass****) and like geology being a rocket scientist rocks.
*****Think: You Risk being an Ass
*******Call me behind in the New York Times best seller’s list, but I’m finally getting around to reading Mary Roach’s book “Stiff” a book about dead people********. If the Pulitzer community were to bestow an award for the most innovative and overused use of the Asterisk then Mary Roach would be their queen. Imagine that—Queen Roach—there should be an insecticide for that plague.
********Like the Bible, but different.
*********I am considering writing a book called “Asterisks.” When this happens, the entire book will be one giant Asterisk. In this case my self-imposed ban on Asterisks will not apply to this book—I’ll ban the ban. In fact, the book will be die-cut in the form of an Asterisk. I hope this will then make the story even more difficult to read. It will be like reading a novel printed on the pages of a six-leafed-clover. And, really, the only thing that can be as confusing to read as a book where the words jump from leaf to leaf (and written in a circle like a Twilight Zone death spiral) is jumping around inside one story not knowing where you last left your thoughts from asterisk to asterisk.*