Chapter 15. Signatures


The simplest gesture of approval is almost like falling asleep.

Check mark

Clerks made the first check marks on clay tablets in Babylonia, In Sweden, Finland, Korea, and Japan, the check marks wrong answers. In English, when you make the mark you can say, “Check.”

Flourish of approval

The Dutch have never adopted the check mark but use, instead, what, in English, we call “a flourish of approval.”

Their X marks

The native signers of the Point No Point treaty of 1855 didn’t sign their names; they made their X marks. They disagreed with the terms, but the treaty wasn’t changed for them.

John Hancocks

John Hancock knew what he was signing and made his signature large and stylish enough so that all subsequent signatures would be John Hancocks.

Kilroy was here

An unknown soldier or spy had been on the beach-head before the landing and had desecrated a monument in Rome before its liberation. It was a sign that freedom and humor knew no limit or border.