June 15, 2007

The other day I got an e-mail telling me I owed #7.58 for something. Now, depending on your computer, # may look like a cursive L that’s been stabbed a couple of times. It’s the symbol for the British Pound, and since Pound starts with L it’s designated with a symbol that really looks like it should only be used by Liberace.

But I digress. On my computer, and on a lot of other computers, the # symbol looks like the square you draw for a game of tic-tac-toe, and any game of tic-tac-toe will always end in a draw unless you’re playing me. Honestly, I’m so bad at tic-tac-toe I should be ashamed to admit it. And that same symbol is under the number 9 on all the phones I use. When I was growing up the # symbol was known as the number sign–as in "We’re #37!", which was the rallying cry of my school golf team. When did it become known as the "pound" sign? And can we # the person who decided to change it? Why did they choose that key? Okay, you can’t get rid of !, especially in business where the incredibly important messages like, "You moron" wouldn’t carry nearly the same weight without it, and @ finally found a place in e-mail. Do you ever wonder what medieval monk was copying manuscripts and finally decided that "at" was too time-consuming to spell out? It was probably the same person who invented &, which I always have trouble with. And then there’s *, which directs you to a footnote somewhere at the bottom of the page*. & if you have more than one footnote, why are they footnotes and not feetnote? No one knows. All I know is that when I reach the state of mind where I’m spending this much time studying my keyboard I probably need to be #ed. Or my days are #ed.


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