The eponymous album by Vampire Weekend includes one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Oxford Comma." It opens the album and I've listened to that song bunches of times. Each time they sing the line, "Why would you lie about how much coal you have; why would you lie about something dumb like that," I have always been confused about the use of the word "coal."

I mean, what sense does that even make? I've wondered if I was mishearing the word "coal" and they were really saying "gold" or something else that would make sense to me. After doing some research, I found that one of the scholastic examples of the Oxford comma is:

"I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel, and coal." Here the amount of coal is not specified.

However, if you write "I have 100 pounds of iron, 50 pounds of steel and coal." Then, without an Oxford Comma, it is implied that there is 50 pounds of coal, thus making people think you have 50 pounds of coal even though you don't.

So she's lying about how much coal she has. Thus bringing up the real question: "Why would you lie about anything at all?"

For a funny example of this, see this drawing.

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