Herb Caen Never Had to Make an Em Dash on a Chromebook

Those of a certain generation may recall Herb Caen, the erstwhile?San Francisco Chronicle?columnist who anchored the Macy’s ad next to his daily forays into what he called ?three dot journalism.? I never met Caen but my mother, when a bank VP, retained his services as an on-call personality. This was during the rollicking ?90s when on-call celebrity earned a five-figure appearance fee to cameo at a company party. My, times have changed. The last time I profited at a party was when someone sent me on a beer run at the?I-T?holiday party, then promptly locked the doors.

Caen didn’t know how good he had it. No one did in the ?90s. For example, this column earns me the same dough the Chron paid when I last filed for them a decade ago. Rates in this market had peaked. I’m not complaining. Given the state of the industry, it’s a small miracle and frankly, since words are free to anyone here in the U.S., my markup is criminal.

And since I’m in in a felonious mood, permit me to steal from Caen himself as I attempt a bit of three-dotism myself. It’s not an homage. It’s because ellipses are easier to type on a Chromebook than my beloved em dash ? literally, three periods versus CTRL+SHIFT+U+2014 ?

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