by: Kevin Doherty
Is there anything so tragic as And by itself? Independent, miserable, And cannot exist alone. And struggles to get by alone. It cannot. It does not. And it will not. Poor And, taciturn, codependent, and dramatically tied to all other things, will stand alone paradoxically. It exists. And connects the dots. And brings everything together. And brings new meaning yet, by itself, is lacking, always asking for more. And is never satisfied.
But And carries on. Driven by the elusive promise that one day it will find its mates, And will nestle serenely between them; And survives. And finds this and that, tinkers between here and there. And waits patiently, knowing that in one brilliant stroke of grammatical miracle someone will recognize it for all its elegance and beauty.
“Where is the character between this and that,” asks And, “Or here and there?” And wants an adventure that bridges worlds while setting them apart just the same. But plain And, itself lacking any distinct personality, slaves futilely to find anything particularly unique about itself at all. With envy, And lays its eyes upon the rest of the alphabet, longing for the belonging and the character that it can never have.
Over time, And loses hope. And accepts its fate as the underappreciated connector of bland blither and blather, filling the gaps at every call without complaint and without character. And gets lost in the hither and thither of everyday life, but never fails to fulfill its call. That is, until the day that And skips town, finally fed up with its lowly place in the world. Left. Gone. Vanished.
Sentences suffer joint pains. They trip over each other. Jut in every direction. Sentences never find the subtle word to connect themselves with the rest of the world. Sentences flail. They jab at each other. Each one interrupts the next. No buffer rescues them. Life on paper is suddenly cut curt.
Desperate to stake a justifiable claim to their world, sentences battle each other as they draw themselves together by adding prepositions toward the ultimate goal of an elegant thought through which they convey meaning. But they fail. Their run-ons dribble over pages. Apathy overtakes their phrases. Despondent, they turn to a mutual acquaintance: Or. But none of them cares about this Or that. They’d really rather not read about here Or there Or hither Or thither. It all becomes blither Or blather. Soon no one can make up their mind Or they go crazy. Logic loses its hold. There is no balance. The world offers only yin or yang, but never both. “To where has our unifying friend fled?” they bemoan.
Amidst their weeping sobs, something new slithers between their words. Disparate ideas join together faintly, conspicuous only to those who still look despairingly for conjunction. But the sentences take no notice, & instead wallow in wretched melancholy, overcome with destitution & self-pity. Appositives rebel, cursing any word that would dare desert & flee. Prepositional phrases revolt. Against their syntactical counterparts, blindly unrepentant. They gloss over character in their world & crumble to bits & pieces. Despite their ability to bond together & curse the heavens in unison with strength & fervor, the Sentence falls to its parts. Subjects with predicates by for & without, needing interjected! clarification, appositively, suffered.
& is character which, per se, is And.
Kevin Doherty is a DePaul University student majoring in maps, Spanish, & International Studies. A convenient typophile and aspiring academic, he argues vehemently for the use of Garamond in all professional papers. When not spending all of his time avoiding schoolwork (or when doing it best), Kevin reads about fonts and practices handwriting. Other times, he is known to tout the benefits of uncannily large families (font families included). Ultimately, his wants understand life’s nuances and use them to leave things in the world a hair better off than they were before he got there.