The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The Tator

The mysterious disappearance of the Oxford comma
The Tator

This is a satirical article and is not meant to be taken seriously. It does not reflect the opinions of The Spectator or UW-Eau Claire.

Late on Monday, Sept. 25, I received a text from the Managing Editor of The Spectator, Kaddie Masper, with devastating news: every Oxford comma in Eau Claire was missing.

When I received this news, I was sitting at my desk finishing typing up an interview and I nearly knocked my laptop off my desk. I ran to grab my Psychology of Perception textbook and opened it to a random page.

There it was. A series of three with no Oxford comma.

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While Oxford commas are forbidden in AP Style, they’re imperative to keep clarity in the world outside of journalism.

I looked down as my phone pinged again, another text from Masper reading, “I need you to take on this story and get to the bottom of this. You’re the only one left I trust.”

I agreed and began to brainstorm a list of possible informants. The first person who came to mind was my good friend Charles Sham, a fourth-year English education student who worked at the McIntyre Library.

I sent him a text asking to meet me the next day and then went to sleep, knowing I’d need plenty of energy for whatever this case would throw my way.

I woke up bright and early on Tuesday, Sept. 26, drove to campus and made my way to the library. I walked up to the front desk to see a distraught Sham, who immediately ushered me back behind the desk, and into an office off to the side.

He spoke immediately, saying he first noticed the disappearance mid-afternoon on Friday. Sham said he was helping a first-year student find a scholarly article for a WRIT 118 project when he noticed a series of three with no Oxford comma.

He said he initially assumed it was just an oversight, until he continued to scroll and couldn’t find any Oxford commas in the rest of the article. He frantically pulled up random articles, not finding a single Oxford comma in any of them.

In a voice not louder than a whisper, Sham told me to come closer, his voice almost unrecognizable from crying.

“There’s this girl who always sits outside the library, every day. I’ve seen her looking through the windows,” Sham said. “I think it’s her.”

I thanked Sham for his time and walked back out into the sun. Almost immediately, I spotted a disheveled-looking girl sitting near the window to my right. I readied myself for potential pushback and walked over.

I identified myself to her as chief copy editor of The Spectator, and she identified herself as Caden Fabricated, a former UW-Eau Claire student.

I asked her why she no longer attended UW-Eau Claire and she reached out her hand, offering me some sort of smoking device.

I declined and got the sense that Fabricated wasn’t fully aware of what was happening around her, but decided to ask her about the Oxford comma disappearance anyway.

When asked whether or not Fabricated knew about the Oxford comma disappearance, she replied that she had no idea what that was and couldn’t remember the last time she opened a book.

I thanked her for her time and started my walk back to the Spectator office, feeling defeated. I couldn’t believe my sources for my first investigative journalism story had dried up before the story even began.

I hung my head as I walked through the door of the office, expecting it to be empty at this early hour, but to my surprise, I found Masper sitting at the table in the center of the room, typing frantically.

When she saw me walk in, she slammed her laptop closed, got up and walked toward me.

“No,” Masper said. “No, you can’t be in here.”

I put my hands out, trying to keep her back, when over her shoulder, I saw the editor-in-chief’s office door crack open and something fall to the ground.

I pushed Masper back and ran toward the door, kneeling by the fallen object.

There it was. An Oxford comma.

I pushed the door open and out they spilled, thousands upon thousands of Oxford commas.

Masper dropped to the ground weeping as I dialed the UW-Eau Claire Police to come apprehend the culprit, The Spectator’s very own Managing Editor, Kaddie Masper.

As I’m sitting here, finishing writing this story, I feel victorious, but also a little silly. Masper had been acting suspiciously for the past couple weeks, closing her laptop as I walked by and coming in late to meetings.

She was also the one who’d texted me the news before I heard it from anyone else. I should’ve known it was an inside job.

I’m still in shock, trying to process why on Earth she would take all of Eau Claire’s sacred Oxford commas, but my deadline is approaching, so that will have to be an investigation for another day.

Price can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Kyra Price
Kyra Price, Freelance Writer

Kyra is a third-year psychology and public health student. This is her fifth semester on The Spectator. In her free time, she likes to listen to a borderline concerning amount of music (like 40-70 hours a week) and attend any concert she can get her hands on tickets for.


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