October has two amazing days: e.e. cummings’ birthday and National Caps Lock Day. In honor of both days, we imagined a debate between e.e. cummings and the caps lock key.
CAPS LOCK: WHY DO YOU HATE ME SO MUCH?
e.e. cummings: i do not hate you; lowercase is my signature style. everyone has a signature style. emily dickinson had her em dash. i just chose not to use capital letters.
CAPS LOCK: BUT IT HURTS MY FEELINGS. I AM BARELY USED WHEN ENGLISH STUDENTS WRITE ABOUT YOU.
e.e. cummings: i was not the one who assigned them my work. besides, you can view it as a vacation. you will finally get a break from students pressing your button.
CAPS LOCK: BUT HOW DO YOU EXPRESS ANGER?
e.e. cummings: i really don’t get angry. but, if i did, i would convey it through the words themselves.
CAPS LOCK: BUT WHAT IF YOU WANT TO EMPHASIZE SOMETHING?
e.e. cummings: again, I let my syntax and diction choices relay what i am emphasizing. i do not rely on cheap tricks like capitalization.
CAPS LOCK: BUT YOU ARE BEING GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT! THE ENGLISH TEACHERS AND EDITORS WILL COME AFTER YOU. AND THEY ARE SCARY. THEY HAVE RED PENS.
e.e. cummings: i am not afraid. they know i am taking something called “poetic license.” after all, the english teachers assign my poetry, and my editor accepted my lack of capitalization. i am red pen-proof.
CAPS LOCK: YOU ARE BEING CLOSE-MINDED. GIVE IT A TRY. WHY DON’T WE CHANGE ONE OF YOUR LINES TO MY STYLE. FOR EXAMPLE, “I CARRY YOUR HEART (I CARRY IT IN MY HEART).”
e.e.cummings: if you are going to destroy my work, please change “carry” to “break,” because you are breaking my heart right now.
CAPS LOCK: HOW ABOUT JUST YOUR NAME: E.E. CUMMINGS.
e.e.cummings: that is even worse! you are attacking my very identity. the capitalization makes me look arrogant. the lowercase is much more humble.
CAPS LOCK: LET’S TRY ANOTHER LINE. “HUMANITY I LOVE YOU.”
e.e. cummings: I HATE YOU.
CAPS LOCK: SO YOU DO GET ANGRY! AND YOU DO SEE THE BENEFITS OF CAPS LOCK! I WIN.