THE JUMP OFF: The Sam Lipsyte Players



“Everybody needs a check.”

So I’m in copy editing. That always gets the crowd going. Relatively recent fire. Business magazine—‘zine, if you’re in the biz. Would you like 1.0 angst with that? I remember my dad telling me after college, “You’re going into journalism? Why don’t you just throw my life’s work away!” So I said back to him, “A management consultant says, ‘What?’” And Dad said, “What?” What else was I going to do with my applied math degree, derivatives?!

When I run into old colleagues on social circlejerks they’re all, “Why aren’t you on Twitter? You need a Twitter!” And I at back at them, chill, yo! God himself did this @creation: BANG! The universe will never be the same. About a millisecond ago. You could rewrite the entire Book of Genesis in Tweets. Wait until you get to the [email protected]!

Most punctuation marks have great names: Ellipsis. Interrobang.
@ was left out of that nomenclature. It’s the Homecoming wallflower of punctuation marks. Then it gets into MoMA and rips off its specs and Sixpence None the Richer starts playing in the background… Um, waterworks!

I think punctuation marks will be the next big trend in baby-naming. Ladasha, with an actual dash. Hyphens: socially conscious. Apostrophe: too… ethnic? You’d worry no one will be able to pronounce it. I’d go for something Anglophilic, like Tilde. Ampersand has a pleasant Victorian air. Semicolon, except with accents for joie de vivre: Sémicolón!

For work I once read a piece about a doctor who uses the word “comma” to call people assholes. He’ll say, “Well, that’s what you should have done, comma.” That’s every copy editor’s dream, to dismiss someone in a single punctuation mark. “Get to the point, parentheses.” Read between the brackets, prick!

Everybody needs a check.


Rozalia Jovanovic is a founding editor of Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art. She is the Deputy Editor of Flavorpill and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Unsaid, The Believer, Everyday Genius, Guernica, elimae, and She blogs at The Astonishing Egg and is The Rumpus New York Editor. More from this author →