Underscore for Emphasis.

Tonight I came home from my English classes after a long day of reading, writing, and note taking.  I was exhausted.  In between lectures, I can often be found pouring over textbooks in some dimly lit corner of the prison university, trying to get a handle on all the literature I’m required to know—not for that day’s classes, but for next week’s. Because in this business, if you’re not ahead…you’re behind.

[At a thousand bucks a pop, there’s no way I’m letting myself fall behind.  What a waste of money that would be.]

Anyway, I was home, I was tired, and I was famished. I sat down to a plate of chips and homemade salsa (thanks to my Aunt Jenni who divulged her secret recipe, which I can pretty much duplicate now), reveling in every delicious bite.  I reached for a copy of the local newspaper, and flipped through its pages until I found an article that interested me.  It was all about how Mayberry’s town council thinks we should get real garbage bins and a real garbage truck [a motion I totally second, by the way], and I was completely enthralled…

…until I became uncomfortable.  Something seemed a little…weird.  I couldn’t quite place it; the verbiage in the article was grammatically correct.  The proper nouns were capitalised.  What was wrong?

Suddenly it struck me like a gangster with brass knuckles:

I wasn’t holding a pen in my hand!

That’s right; I can no longer read any form of printed literature—be it a newspaper article, a library book, or a weekly sales ad—without a ballpoint pen on guard, ready to underscore any main point I find.

I got to the point where I was underlining so much, my marks became completely void of any emphatic value, so I resorted to layering over the ultra-important passages with orange hi-lighter.

I’m pretty sure I won’t even try to sell my books back at the end of this semester…

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is either called brainwashing, or a very bad case of too much dadgum school.

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
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20 Responses to Underscore for Emphasis.

  1. Geneva says:

    see, I get a perverse joy from writing in books. it’s a little bit of, “I’m writing in a book and no one can stop me!” It’s probably a remnant from the scoldings of red crayon covered nursery books. And there is just a nice feel of a pen over newspaper. Maybe that’s why I like crossword puzzles.

    So arm yourself with that pen and enjoy being part of the ranks!

  2. anna says:

    Or maybe both? I’m not an Englishy person, not even close. But sometimes when I read I take notes (mostly the books I’m reading for book club)… although they don’t involve orange highlighters.

  3. ann says:

    Hi There! Thanks for your comment on my blog.. I recognized you from Lauren’s blog.. You are a fun girl!
    After coming to your website, I admit I am ashamed you have been to my blog where my grammer skills are terrible! I feel so not worthy even reading your smarts!

  4. mikelle says:

    You make me laugh. your sister was the same way with her books.

  5. Lauren says:

    Can I just tell you I think I am going to vomit. Not from your post…but literally. I am here at work…sitting at my desk. The saliva has started to come profusely. I am not sure I will be able to make it to the bathroom in time, to vomit there. My question is, should I vomit in my “under the desk garbage” or try to make a run for it?

  6. Lauren says:

    Anyway, I mark on books too. I am crazy like that.

  7. Holly Decker says:

    good for you- i mean, being so good at underlining and marking things in your books. *sigh* perhaps that was my downfall in school? but that does suck that you cant sell them back for much now…
    i find myself wanting to underline things in the books i read for my book club. that way i can quickly turn to my favorite quotes and things.
    but you know what i DONT mark up and i should? my scriptures. ever since Jeff bought me new ones… they just seem to precious to mark up. they are pure of markings… but i swear i read them!

    oh and PS… yes, i am enjoying AZ currently. thanks for asking :)

  8. afton says:

    totally try to sell them back! there’s nothing i love more than when people already did all the work for me. it totally helps the skimming process when i already have highlighted words to read. and i’m sure yours would be actually helpful.

  9. In one of my psych books it said that highlighting is a form of procrastination. If this is true, I am so guilty of procrastinating. And I definitely know about using different colors over other colors because it is REALLY important. And drawing asterisks next to passages. Yep. Brainwashed.

  10. NobodyNose says:

    Huh. I keep telling myself to do that…. and it never happens.

  11. anon10 says:

    Marking in books…. what a rush! I admit I am guilty too.

  12. anonymous says:

    I admire your love, and will, for knowledge.
    Cook the books.
    Don’t inhale the fumes.

  13. I always love buying used textbooks in hopes that the person already hilighted the important parts for me, because I am so, not a reader. :) good luck with your classes, but you’re smart so i know you’ll do great :)

  14. Bernadette says:

    A big “Thank you” for your nice comment on my blog!
    I felt glad to hear that my English isn´t that bad. After my final exam (10 years ago) I didn´t speak or write English very often and I got worse, but I try hard.
    Greetings and love from Austria,

  15. Granamama says:

    Jut remember that your love of learning ( and marking) comes from all those Library Circle Times that you don’t REMEMBER that your beloved mother took you to. (Yes, I know I just ended a sentence in a preposition. I still insist that it is the early childhood experiences that form the adult behavior.

  16. Anonymous says:


    Welcome back to the world of academia, dear sister.

  17. Alexa Mae says:

    Oh my gosh, that is too funny. I cannot believe all the underlining you do, and I don’t even wanna know all the pens you go through a month. Your poor hand!

  18. anonymous says:

    looking forward to your next post!

  19. Anonymous says:

    New post! New post! New post!!!

  20. Pingback: Archives of Our Lives » Chipper

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