A couple of years ago, my wife gave me a pair of interrobang cufflinks (as shown above) for Christmas. They were the perfect gift, and I was lucky to get them — I’m afraid to say that they’re no longer available. But if you’re still looking for a gift for the punctuation-phile in your life, worry not: ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the inaugural Shady Characters holiday gift guide!
First up is this excellent ampersand cheese board from UncommonGoods of Brooklyn, New York. And really, is there anything else to say? The only thing that could improve this would be for it to be inscribed with a pilcrow or interrobang instead. The price is a little rich at $48, but surely this is worth the outlay of some hard-earned cheddar.
Next is a slightly more tangential gift. Type:Rider is a peaceful, pleasant stroll through the history of typography in the form of a video game for Android and iOS devices. It’s a lovely experience — this is no frantic shoot-’em-up — in which the player controls a mobile colon* on a journey through ten different typographic worlds, from the Renaissance to the present day. It’s all accompanied by some lovely music. Even if you aren’t the video gaming sort (or, er, the object of your gift-giving isn’t the video gaming sort), Type:Rider is still more than worth the few dollars it costs. Give it a go!
If Type:Rider’s puzzles prove to be too taxing, maybe it’s time for a relaxing cocktail instead? As covered here a few months back, Karl Weichold of Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces the delightfully-named Interrobang Sweet Vermouth, which would no doubt go down a treat in a Manhattan or Negroni. Unfortunately, only natives of the Pacific Northwest need apply; I’ve been unable to hunt down an online source for Mr Weichold’s liqueur, but if any readers do manage to lay their hands on a bottle I’d love to hear what you think of it.
Of course, now you have that glass in your hand, it’d be nice to have somewhere to put it down safely. Enter Nordstrom’s ‘Symbol’ coasters: four coasters bearing symbols that will warm the cockles of the punctuation-loving heart. And just think — as the recipient of this thoughtful gift unwraps it, you’ll be able to regale them with tales of how the octothorpe, @-symbol, and ampersand came about in the first place. Assuming, that is, that you remembered to order that copy of Shady Characters you’d been meaning to buy since the paperback came out last month.
Thanks for reading, and for putting up with my excruciating gameshow-esque patter. It just comes naturally, honest. If you do end up giving any of these gifts this holiday season, do leave a comment to let us know how it went!