Punctuation-Free Line Confuses Local Journalist

By Patrick Coffee 

One of our readers REALLY wanted us to post on this Definitely Not News News. It seems reporter James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star Tribune simply could not make sense of this line, which he saw on a local McDonald’s billboard last month (pic via Lileks):

treats excitedThe writer, who is a big fan of both lunch and Judge Judy screenshots, implored his readers to help him figure it out. He writes:

“Are the treats excited? About what? Being consumed? Is the message NOUN / YOUR EMOTIONAL STATE, presuming you respond with Pavlovian slavering to the prospect of the sugar-ration the picture presents?”

Mr. Lileks is almost certainly being facetious here, as the line is meant to be read as “[There are] treats [and I am/we are] excited.”

A bit of punctuation might help calm his mind. Some alternate lines, listed by degree of clarity:

  • “Treats, excited”
  • “Treats; excited.”
  • “Treats? Excited.”
  • “Treats! Excited!”
  • “Treats! (Excited.)”

The main problem here is that Mr. Lileks–who is in his late 50’s and wields some degree of influence with the “get off my lawn” crowd–is not a member of this ad’s target demographic, that being young people who don’t have time to punctuate.

Or, as McDonald’s sees them, idiots.

So yeah, this line may well be a play on “totes excited,” though we’d like to think that’s not the case. And no, we are not in any way defending it.