Obscure Punctuation #6


On the Currency Sign

This sign is a strange mark that is used to denote currency when a currency sign is not available. It was created, allegedly in 1972, but the only source I could find that had much information on this ambiguous mark was Wikipedia, so I had some trouble verifying this date. I was able to find other evidence that this sign does exist and that it has been used before, however, it is avoided with good reason. Some part of me wants to think that this sign was created by a few programmers with a twisted sense of humor given that this sign is really only useful in taking things out of context. If Tobias said to you that he had 100 in an email and didn’t specify between euro, pound, yen, peso or American dollar you would have almost no context for the true sum of money that he is dealing with here.

Appropriately enough, Microsoft uses the currency sign for its Xbox 360 currency system, which is a confusing mess that intends for users to buy generocurrency Microsoft points and then use those points to purchase software items. Seems quite a bit too meta for my taste, in fact this point system kept me away from dealing with the online Microsoft realm. Still it was an entertainingly simple application for this sign.

— Deirdre McCormick, Poetry Editor

Editor’s Note: Deirdre McCormick is a third year Biology Major with a minor in Creative Writing.  She is deeply passionate for both topics and that is evident in much of her writing endeavors.  She was also recently published in Lewis University’s own Windows magazine.

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