Once upon a time, there was a dashingly important word named Web. He was from an affluent family of capitalised words, the World Wide Web, who had come to prominence in the 1990s. He was the shortest of his brothers, but with a W—- just as handsome, he still garnered many admirers. The three nouns were as proper as you could meet. (Although they used to be in a band called W3, but that’s another story).
Web represented the family business and met many other words through his work. His colleagues included design and browser. He got on well with these ordinary nouns, but they never got too close – it was just business. ‘I have nothing against the lower cases,’ he’d say; ‘some of my best friends are common nouns.’ Each night he would return to the safety of his trademarked ivory tower, alone.
In society, people found it hard to believe he was still single.
Then one day, Web met a noun who was more common than muck. She had been around for years, and had been paired with too many words to recall (there were few she would not go with – she had even been married to camp). Her name was site.
Despite her reputation, from the moment they started working together people said how good they looked. It was an irresistible partnership. And they were successful. She was easy to work with, and they appeared together all over the world. People assumed that they were already an item.
But Web kept his distance. He had a reputation, he was part of a proud family. He had an enormous W—-. She, on the other hand, was from a hard-working home. She didn’t know what to do with a capital letter and felt uncomfortable appearing in title case.
How could it ever work?
Yet they could not stop thinking of each other. At night, from his tower, Web would look at the stars and sing, ‘I want to sleep with common vocables like you,’ while site would appear in public and speak for them both. ‘I am Web,’ she would shout. They were in love. They were seen together in public all the time.
When Web’s family caught wind of the tryst his brothers tried to dissuade him from marrying down. They called on pernickety subeditors to argue the case. They got the grammar Nazis to torture him. Internet worried about what might happen to his capital if Web relinquished his. But it was no good. The proper noun had fallen in love with a commoner, and there was nothing they could do to keep them apart.
Finally, they surrendered to the inevitable. Web and site shunned a long engagement (unlike her tarty friend e who is still dashing around in front of mail without committing) and jumped straight into marriage. The AP Stylebook recorded their union early last year. No pernickety subeditors were invited to the wedding. Web was forced to abandon his capital, but they both agreed that what mattered was being together.
Now website live joyfully as one. World and Wide in their finery have not been seen around so much. And everyone, well nearly everyone, hopes that the lovers live happily ever after.
I shall, from this moment forth, be acknowledging their union on my website.
Happy Valentine’s Day to loved-up words everywhere.
Image from 123pimpin.com