No, that’s not a typo, it’s a convention:
When punctuation geeks assembled earlier this month at Punctuacon, our annual convention, we spent the usual two or three hours whining about the pathetic size of our gathering, compared to Comic-Con International in San Diego, Dragon*Con in Atlanta or any of those tiresome Star Trek conventions that draw multitudes to worship at the shrine of William Shatner.
We have no heroes like Shatner, just ourselves and our proud tradition of judging and promoting the images and ideograms of language — and our totally imaginary convention.
That should be enough, but a love for punctuation, signage and graphic symbols remains a lonely passion. It’s hard not to be bitter.
Why can’t the rest of the world understand that a well-designed semicolon or an expertly made STOP sign is every bit as enthralling as a mint Batman first edition, an early sketch of the Jedi, or a photograph signed by Margot Kidder herself? Why can’t they care about the tragically missing apostrophe on the logo of a certain coffee-shop chain?
Still, Punctuacon was happier this year than usual, mostly because we could forget about what had become at previous conventions the most melancholy issue on the agenda: Who will save the octothorpe?
Read all about the octothorpe, its obscure origin and recent revival, at Robert Fulford’s National Post story “What we have here is one of the great comeback stories in the history of competitive punctuation.” (Thanks, Paul!)