November 12, 2008

A Life Without Exclamation Points

He pays no attention to the shouts coming from the other room. Is not bothered by the sounds of a rolly chair spinning circles across our hardwood floor, as I throw my arms up in the air and shout “weeeeeeee!!!!” Barely looks up when I grab Cooper by his two front paws and we dance around the room to a song about editing that I just made up on the spot. A carefree little diddy about carpal tunnel syndrome and a fear of going cross-eyed. He’s used to it by now. Expects it, really. Because, honestly, what would a workplace be without spinning rolly chairs and songs about your favorite syndromes?

Well….I can tell you.

The one and only summer that I worked at a law firm, I was hauled into a Partner’s office and reprimanded for using too many exclamation points in my emails. Exclamation points. It wasn’t professional, wasn’t dignified. Make no mistake about it, these were our clients not our friends. We could be excited, we should just do it on the inside. Where no one could tell. Or be bothered by it. And with that one (ever so slightly dramatized) anecdote, I think that pretty much sums up what taking a law firm job would’ve meant for me…

A life without exclamation points.

And when you come that close to losing your favorite punctuation mark, you really start to appreciate it. Some might say, go overboard with it even. But just know this, whether I’m sitting at my desk shouting “I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!!” or “BAH! I’M SO OVERWHELMED!!!!!! COULD SOMEBODY JUST SHOOT ME!?!?” it makes no difference to me. Because I just remind myself how lucky I am to be living a life so full: full of joy, full of passion, and yes, full of exclamation points.

And rolly chairs on hardwood floors. You can’t forget those.

  1. elizabeth

    Thats awesome! who couldnt type with out Explanation points for petes sake??!! My favorite though is the rolling period as I like to call it I can’t ever seem to use just one.. its always several…. like this…. whatever see a Law Firm would of never hired me.. a radiator manufacturer did they were awesome to work for.. infact they loved it when I would screw up PA announcements or turn the PA on and just giggle.. or forget to turn it off and the entire facility could hear whatever conversations were taking place at the reception desk…..hhahah too bad they ended up going out of business.. no.. not because of me.. I had left that job long before then.. it had to do with a buyout merger thing.. sad really it was an awesome place to work.

  2. Mary Marantz

    LOL! Ummm you & I are clearly going to be friends. I’ve decided!

  3. Amanda Herzberger


    You guys are too cute ;)

  4. john waire

    living the dream!!!

  5. ericamay

    This just completely cracks me up! In college, I was a journalism major, and exclamation points were FORBIDDEN from anything we wrote… I’m proud to say that I’m now journalist-mindset-free!! :D YAY!

  6. Annemarie

    This is awesome! I can’t help but use exclamation points. Sometimes it’s the perfect response….without even words….. "!!!" – just really means a lot! I’m also an overabuser of the rolling period (actually called an ellipsis…but rolling period is so much more fun….going to start using that term now….especially since I don’t know how to pronounce ellipsis)….and the "-". It can make one sentence stretch on forever!!

  7. Nicole

    Love this post…makes me realize that even if I have to take a pay cut initially to do photography full time, the fact that I will LOVE my job will be worth it. Hopefully one day I can experience the carefree feeling that you describe in this post. Thank you…I needed this today!

  8. Kenny Kim

    :) I agree – we need more exclamation marks in our emails! :) Good times!. I got my gold card from starbucks also! :)

  9. Jacob Bergmeier

    I love my (!) and I use it almost as much as my (…)

  10. Shy

    hee hee… I love love love everything about you miss Mary Marantz! Yes, I love Justin and Coop too ;)
    Thank you for that reminder that life without exclamation points is a boring life indeed ;)


  11. Eddye

    I totally agree! How can we communicate without rolling periods or exclamation points! And…I had no idea that dot dot dot had an official name (ellipse) until I read AnneMarie’s comment! We’re working on a piece on you guys for the StyleMePretty’s Little Black Book Blog that should post next week. We LOVE the energy of your site, your photos and now your blog! You guys are great!!!

  12. karen (Mikols) Bonar

    :-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Samantha Jones

    I could not agree more. This is why I’m not practicing law either!! Although I work in less of a creative world than you, I am still allowed to be who I am, and that’s super important!!!

  14. Grandma Ina

    I love exclamation points!!! A life without them is a life without excitement!!!

  15. Josh

    I must have it really good at the law firm I work for… Not only do all the attorneys use !!!!’s in emails, but there also seems to be a quite liberal usage of :-) and even the occasional :-P.

  16. erin harvey

    yay, no need to hold back, we love you for all the fun punctuation!!

  17. Rebecca Briggs

    I hear ya! I am a chronic user of the exclamation point and I don’t care!!!!

  18. shara lana

    I just love this post!!!! I have been known to over use the EXCLAMATION mark too and you know what, no apologies!!! LOL!!! That is ME!! Who I am. If you aren’t passionate, happy and living boldly then, shame on you. GO!!! Go and find LIFE!!! Love you!!!!

  19. Jasmine*

    I! KNOW! WHAT! YOU! MEAN! sometimes, when i just want to really throw people off, i’ll use FIVE exclamation points just to show how reeeeally happy I am!!!!!

  20. Cathy and David Photographers

    Aw boooo someone else did what I did. :( Thought I was being original.

  21. Megan Robbins

    i overzealously use exclaimation points !!!!!!!!!! doesn;t really matter where, email, texting…conversations (do you ever catch yourself saying exclamation point!!!?!)


    btw, your blogsite sort of rocks my word in a way i never knew possible.

  22. denise karis

    I just found your blog and loooove it – one of my fav. blog designs I’ve ever seen!

  23. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    Thanks for the blog love! I passed along the Spread the Love Workshop name to a lady here … not sure if/when you’ll have another one. :-)

  24. lyndsay

    your work is AMAZING, and i’m loving the new blog!

  25. Melanie

    How are people supposed to be able to tell how excited one is without exclamation points!?!?!?!?! SERIOUSLY! I like to spread the enthusiasm with others!!!!!! You guys are the best and I will use exclamations points to demonstrate!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See, very effective!

  26. Adrienne

    I love how we both wrote entries about exclamation marks!! (!!!!) Thanks so much for stopping by my blog – I absolutely love your work and writing style and will definitely be dropping by again!

  27. kelly beane

    I truly appreciate this entry, considering I’m obsessed with exclamation points!!!!! Keep up your awesomeness!!!!!!

  28. Stacy Cross

    Well said! Isn’t it awesome to have the freedom to be happy on the outside as well as the inside?! Love it!

  29. Paul McNerney


  30. Scarlett Lillian

    So cute!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) I can so related b/c I had a similar experience when I was doing the corporate thing. I got pulled into the office for not wearing panty hose with my suits. I knew that was the beginning of the end.

  31. Mary Marantz

    LOL! Oh no Scarlett! Yea I also had a problem with open toed shoes. I guess I didn’t get the memo! yikes!

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