I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the pound sign. Poor, forgotten, obsolete pound sign. To be honest, I’m more than a little bit put off by the treatment the pound sign has received over the last handful of years.
Some social media sites swoop in and highjack the pound sign’s identity, whole identity, its being, its core, and suddenly everyone under the age of eighteen thinks it’s a damn hashtag, whatever the hell a hashtag is, for Pete’s sake. It looks a lot like the pound sign, but they keep calling it a hashtag, but this thing they keep telling me is a hashtag is really, in all actuality, a pound sign, and they act like the pound sign was never even here, never around, never existed, never actually lived a life, was never a useful member of our communication construct.
Ninety years ago, if there was a problem with that typewriter, and that particular key was jammed, and the repairman came into the office to fix it and asked the guy what key was jammed, he would say, “The the pound sign,” not “the hashtag,” because if he said the latter, the repairman would be like, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, what’s a hashtag? It looks here, to me, like it’s your the pound sign key that’s all jammed up.”
It’d be like if you got up one day, and someone was in your house and told you that you didn’t live there anymore. Then, when you got to work that same clown was there and told you that you don’t work there anymore, and then later, that same jerk is out to dinner with your wife or your girlfriend, and your kids are calling him dad, and everyone is acting like he’s you, but he’s not you, and he has a different name….It’s kind of like that.
I really need to know how this kind of crap happens and why this kind of crap happens. I suppose it must have been a case where the pound sign just wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain, or perhaps the pound sign wasn’t performing up to its full capabilities, or maybe they didn’t renew the pound sign’s contract, and in walks hashtag, the new little catchy term on the horizon because we can’t stand anything old, and we’re only happy if we’re reinventing the wheel and putting new packaging on it and calling it “new and improved,” and the hashtag’s willing to do the job for a whole lot less and then it’s so long the pound sign, thanks for all of the years of solid work, it’s been nice, but get the hell out because the hashtag’s moving in!
Identity theft is a growing problem, and this is just taking it to a new and dangerous level. What’s next? Suddenly I’m in the supermarket, and I think I’m in the cereal aisle, but no, I’m actually in the jackleg aisle because cereal is now, for no apparent reason anyone with a drop of logic can discern, called jackleg? And because people are sheep, they suddenly go along with it, and now everyone’s calling cereal something else, something called jackleg.
And then where does it end? Where do we draw the line? Why don’t we just make up new words for everything? Hell, I’ve always hated the word, quench. I’m gonna start calling quench smat. Who’s with me? And while I’m at it, I really hate the words supple and succulent, so let’s find new words for those. See what I mean? Before we know it, it will be word and symbol anarchy, chaos, asterisks and dollar signs sleeping together.