We three of the august bakgat editorial team had great fun while friend Charles was writing his autobiography Bakgat. One of the causes for mirth and ribbing was centred around punctuation, with some wanting precision and others wanting to be slapgat in bakgat. You can read about the fun here, but here’s an excerpt showing Barbara’s humour:

Puncture-ation: Deep discussions were held on punctuation. Commas and apostrophes were debated the most. Barbara: I’ve been reading a book on punctuation written with a lot of humour by someone who calls herself a stickler for correct pronunciation and punctuation. She dithers outside a charity shop that has a sign in the window which reads, “Can you spare any old records.”  There is no question mark! Should she go in and mention it? “But what will I do if the elderly charity shop lady gives me the usual disbelieving stare and then tells me to “Bugger off, get a life and mind your own business?”

Pete: Well, Barbs knows my sympathies lie not with the author, but firmly with the elderly charity shop lady!

Much later I read about 18th century author Timothy Dexter in wikipedia and had to tell Barbara about him!

At age 50, Dexter authored the book A Pickle for the Knowing Ones, in which he complained about politicians, the clergy and his wife. The book contains 8,847 words without any punctuation and with unorthodox spelling and capitalization. One section begins:

Ime the first Lord in the younited States of A mercary Now of Newburyport it is the voise of the peopel and I cant Help it and so Let it goue

Here’s my email to the Masons, suggesting ‘Punctuation – a good solution perhaps for our 3rd edition of Bakgat?’

Dexter’s first edition was self-published – like Bakgat – in Salem Massachusetts in 1802. In the second edition this successful eccentric practical-minded author responded to complaints about the book’s lack of punctuation by adding an extra page of 11 lines of punctuation marks with the instruction that printers and readers could insert them wherever needed—or, in his words, “thay may peper and solt it as they plese”.


bakgat – from Afrikaans meaning cool; nice; expression of appreciation for something well done; often stated ‘no, bakgat man’

slapgat – also from Afrikaans meaning ‘lazy.’ Used to denote a person not pulling his/her weight, or doing something haphazardly or carelessly – literally, a slack or lazy arse.

commas – in case anyone feels like I’m short, here are a few commas they can use in my writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Thanks Timothy Dexter