It’s been coming for a long time, but I’m too old and slow to be happy about it. Double space… I grew up double spacing after every sentence. It’s automatic. I can’t help it, no matter how hard I try.
Here’s the issue. The rules have changed. In the old days, before inventions like “fire” started to catch on, books were printed with monospace fonts. These fonts utilized fixed widths, meaning that all characters took up the same amount of horizontal space on the page. The double space after the end of each sentence was utilized to help the reader visually recognize the end of the sentence.
With the disappearance of monospace fonts, the Powers that Be have decreed that single spacing shall be the law of the land. When the ruling came down, some of us gave it the same amount of attention we devoted to adopting the metric system and the promises of politicians. Frustrated by our lack of obedience, the Lords and Masters of Literature railed against our ignorance, glared at us in a Most Evil Manner, and threw legendary temper tantrums.
Just when they began to despair, the Internet brought us eBooks. With the advent of eBooks, came the self-publishing revolution. “Aha!” they exclaimed while wiping their runny noses. Although they were temporarily embarrassed at being caught using an exclamation point, the Literary Elite decreed that any fool who produced an eBook containing double spacing would be labeled an amateur, worthy of derisive finger pointing, snickering, and mockery.
And so it ends. Who in their right mind would willingly expose themselves to such a terrible fate? Horrified at the prospect of this dismal future, independent authors bowed in humble submission. The tide has now turned. What was once considered a matter of preference is now Immutable Law. The few who miss the double space are told that they are too old to matter anymore. Insistence on double spacing will not be tolerated in the new society.
Is this really worth all the screaming? Do the self-appointed Rulers of the Written Word have nothing more important to do than to hold hissy-fit parties about double spacing? Isn’t it enough that they’ve ordered that all books will eliminate their use of adverbs, most punctuation, adjectives, long words, and multiple story lines? Will they only be satisfied once we’ve been reduced to pointing at crudely drawn images and grunting?
Wait. I just had some coffee. I feel better now. Ok, I can do this single space thing now. Never mind.