Thanks for the thoughts. I'll have to check out those abstractions.
This was the solution I found and it's working like a dream thus far:
About ready to throw in the towel here, but this seemed like a good alternative.
I'm trying to get tagged potentiometer data into pd via the comport object. In Max, once I get all of the data organized into lines the way I want, I just throw it into an [itoa] object and it spits out my data the way I printed to the serial port from Arduino. Pretty sure there is no such object in pd.
So, I figured that I could unpack the ascii data and, one character at a time, translate the message back into a list. I then removed the spaces between the items in the list, added a [list trim] and ouala! I have my original message just the way it was printed to the serial port.
This turned out to be a poor solution, because now that I actually want to route the data, [route] nor [sel] has any idea how to categorize these messages. It's not a symbol, list, float, or integer. It's just...undefined now.
I've attached the patch... is there anyone who can help me do this more efficiently? If I had an [itoa] object, my problems would be solved.