One day the Computer Keyboard Special Characters decided to hold their annual meeting. All the CKSC members were there; Comma, Asterisk and Ampersand, Colon and Semi-colon, Left and Right Bracket, Underscore, Backslash and Forward Slash, both Parentheses, etc. There were even some characters no one recognized.
There was lots of talking and jostling for seats and Exclamation Point had to yell to call the meeting to order. And right away a problem arose. Vertical Bar, on the far right side, wanted to know why there were no Alt. Commands present.
“This is discrimination! Alt. Commands represents a lot of special characters!”
Everyone ignored Vertical Bar’s ranting and the meeting finally got underway. Because he was good at setting things off, Right Single Quotation Mark was the first to speak.
“People keep getting me mixed up with Apostrophe and I'm sick and tired of it.”
Some characters jeered and laughed out loud. “Can I quote you on that? quipped Asterisk.
Next to speak was little Hyphen who had to practically shout just to be heard.
“Just because I'm smaller than the Dashes doesn't mean I'm less important.”
Then En-dash, who was an Alt Command, shouted from the back, “I’m longer than Hyphen! I’m longer than Hyphen!”
“How did you get in here?” demanded At Sign.
“Get out! Get out!” shouted Left and Right Brace.
Then from somewhere far off came the distinguished voice of Em-dash, “Well, if truth be known…….” and he paused for effect, “I am quite a bit longer than both of you characters.”
Caret and Grave Accent then piped up, “No one ever like us because we are foreign-born. But we are much important too.”
Shouts of, “Go home! Go home!” were heard from both sides of the keyboard. When order was restored, Tilde, sitting alone in the corner, got up the nerve to speak.
“I just want to s-s-ay,” she stammered, “well, uh, no one even knows what I do and I'm not really sure myself.”
“Well then, why don’t you just leave!” Minus Sign called out.
“I know exactly why I’m here!” shouted Greater Than symbol. “I am here because I’m greater than any of you!” And all the while, he stared directly at Less Than symbol, who quickly ran and hid inside Parentheses.
Almost drowned out by the din, Question Mark wondered aloud, “Why oh why do we always end up fighting? Why? Why?”
As if to bring attention to their predicament, Underscore spoke up.
“Question Mark is right! Let’s all just chill out!”
But none of the symbols was listening. All eyes were on Backslash, who had jumped up and started screaming at Forward Slash.
"How come you're always the one who gets used in web addresses! I'm just as good as you!”
Then Forward Slash, by now all keyed up, leaned forward and sneered at Backslash.
“Because you are nothing but a backward far-left inconsequential minor character!”
Backslash and Forward Slash then got in each others’ fonts. Full Stop tried to come between them but the two Slashes started a knock-down drag-out fight, trying their best to delete each other.
When it was all over, Forward Slash and Backslash both had the wind knocked completely out of them. Their bellies were pushed so far in that they looked like Left and Right Parentheses. By then, complete chaos reigned on the keyboard. At that moment, Equal Sign rose to address the raucous assembly.
“My friends and fellow characters, let us not debase ourselves with this constant partisan bickering. At heart, we really are all the same. Yes, we are special in our own ways, yet each of us has the ability to set our differences aside and work together for the greater good. And what is our greater good? It is nothing less than cooperative excellence in the art of clear and concise communication.”
Just then, there was a great power surge and the computer blinked once and came crashing down. Sadly, no one had remembered to take minutes of the meeting and in the ensuing darkness, the special characters groped their way toward the exit. They had no recollection of what they had seen or heard or even why they were there.