SATIRE/Rosie Sorenson

Punctuate This!

According to the Associated Press, The Chicago Manual of Style has issued the following alert: Due to the need for extreme vetting of President Donald Trump’s deceitful tweets, for which millions of quotation marks are dispatched to whitewash his lies, there is now an international shortage (The CMS apologizes for the lack of quotation marks in this press release, but there were simply none available at the time the alert was issued).

Since taking office, Trump’s staff have been employing quotation marks by the container load, causing China to lag behind in production. Millions of writers are complaining because there are scant marks available for their novels, their essays, their journalism. They’re weary of standing in line for hours at the Quotation Marks Store, only to be turned away because Trump has tweeted again.

Sorry, ma’am, no quotes today. Check back tomorrow.

And now, due to the firing (!) of FBI Director, James Comey, there’s a near shortage of exclamation points! According to a Trump Tweet, “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!” Where will this assault on our punctuation end?!

In support of writers, hundreds of thousands of readers from around the country have converged on Washington, D.C. for an organized protest: Take Back the Quotes. “There he goes again,” one marcher said, referring to Trump. “Ruining everything. It’s bad enough that he wants to destroy health care, but to suck up all the quotes? And now the exclamation points? That’s an outrage. How are we going to read books, magazines or newspapers if these marks are not available? Perhaps this is his plan to dumb us down even further.”

Ever since our ancestors began using punctuation marks, there’s always been a balance between supply and demand. No longer. Market forces have been upended, and no one knows when, or if, they will be restored.

The Associated Press barely managed to snag a few marks for a piece published in the East Bay Times: “… after Trump leveled his allegations (about Obama wiretapping the Trump Tower) in a series of early-morning tweets, spokesman Sean Spicer said the president wasn’t using the word wiretapping literally, noting that Trump had put the term in quotation marks. ‘The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities.’”

It’s a perfect storm. Trump’s Presidency is requiring massive amounts of quotation marks at the very time the tariffs he slapped on China’s imports have increased their cost “bigly,” rising to $390,000 per container load.

“Highway robbery!!” snorts Trump. “I’ll destroy them!”

“You could always tell the truth, you know,” said one of his aides. “You wouldn’t need quotation marks if you did that.”

“What are you talking about!?” says Trump, crimson washing up and over his face and neck.

“Truth. You know—truth?”

“You disloyal bastard—you’re fired!”

“Can I quote you?”

Rosie Sorenson is a humor writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can contact her at:

From The Progressive Populist, June 15, 2017

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