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I Want My Space Back

John W. Pinkerton


I'm not pleased with the world this morning. 

Friends were visiting us last evening, and we went out to eat Mexican food.  I like Mexican food and was enjoying my meal when the female half of our guests mentioned that her son had been marked down on a paper for using two spaces instead of one between sentences.

I must admit that I lost it at that point.  The rest of the evening was a blur. 

I taught English for 25 years.  Linda, my wife, taught typing and keyboarding for 30 years.  When we taught, two spaces between sentences was the standard.  I suspect that this has been the standard since the invention of the printing press.

I never questioned this practice.  It seemed perfectly reasonable.  It gave the overall pages a nice uncluttered  look.  Why would anyone question this practice?  Is it too much work to tap twice on the space bar?  After all, your finger is already there.

I have noticed that some of the essays submitted to oldartguy.com have only used one space between sentences.  I assumed that this was a lack of education, but, no, it is a matter of miseducation.  It, apparently, is the new standard.  For years I corrected the errors, but then gave up and allowed the single spaces to remain…not as a matter of conviction, but I just tired of correcting the problem. 

I keep trying to imagine what kind of person woke up one morning and said, “One space between sentences---not two.”

Whoever it was must surely be classified at the top level of bureaucrats---one who confused “can” with “should”---one who justified his or her existence by changing something for the sake of changing something---one who believes in reinventing the world even when the world doesn't want or need it.

Somewhere in the universe floating in space there is a bucket holding all of the unused spaces---lonely and alone.