Symbolic Gesture

Editor’s note: A version of this entry appeared a while back in my blog on letterpress printing. I thought I’d share it again here with a different audience just for grins.

Go ahead, put an asterisk next to the Softball Coach’s name in the record books.

I’ll do it for you: Softball Coach.*

Feel better? Me too. In fact, I’ve rarely felt as strongly** about an issue.

Really, people. Leave the asterisk alone. How did such a magnificent old typesetter’s symbol come to represent everything negative?

How soon we forget. The asterisk has always stood for added value. Think about it: An asterisk whispers of even more great stuff to come later. Present but never pushy. Always helpful. “Don’t stop reading on my account, for I’d hate to interrupt the author’s brilliant prose. But when next we meet, I’ll provide a little more detail or context.”

Now we’ve got a presidential candidate (John McCain***) and a fashion designer (Marc Ecko****) insisting that a baseball player (Barry Bonds*****) has done something so anti-American, so egregious and evil that only an asterisk can capture its rottenness.******

Barry Bonds may have made a Faustian deal in exchange for baseball greatness. It looks bad. And people are starting to go to prison over this whole steroids thing. The asterisk, meanwhile, has done nothing but serve mankind. Why, then, should these two be forever linked?

Just had to get that off my chest.*******

*Note: The Softball Coach is not currently listed in any record book.

** The Softball Coach does not use steroids.

*** Some day just a footnote in human history, as we all shall be.

**** Ditto.

***** Squared.

****** The Softball Coach does not condone cheating in any fashion.

******* Again, unenhanced by human growth hormone (but I guess you knew that — didn’t mean to intrude).

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