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Wednesday, 01 October 2008 02:00

Ode to *

By  Alex Emsley
He sits quietly on the top row, hovering above 8 like a bad hangover.  * is the nice guy of the keyboard, and his uses are often overlooked.  Think of all the nasty little words that are made acceptable by his presence.  You can take a bunch of really rough, crude characters and make them fairly tame – simply by putting * with them.  "Crap", for example, is awful and smelly.  But bring in our friend and you get "cr*p" – a far more pleasant substance.  Stepping on cr*p isn't nearly as bad as stepping on crap.

* can be compared to the well-mannered, diplomatic personality that tends to make the rowdier types behave themselves.  The kind of chap that your grandmother would like you to spend more time with.  Our friend also has a lot going for him.  No matter how much time he spends with unpleasant characters, they don't seem to tarnish his reputation.  When I spend one night with rough characters, drinking too much beer and acting like a degenerate, then everybody's worried about my self-destructive tendencies.  But * frequents the dingiest, grottiest sentences – the kind of places that most characters wouldn't be seen dead in, and he stays squeaky-clean.  He is incorruptible and badly unappreciated.
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