Saturday, March 04, 2006

Your Signature Signature

(54) Your Signature Signature

Pity the poor signature. It used to mean what was left on the paper after you signed your name.

Now it’s become one of those words thrown in the heap of those with definitions so rubberized we don’t know the meaning.

Creeping Signaturism.

Everything’s a signature. Chrysler has a couple of “signature models,” which have facsimiles of Walter P. Chrysler’s signature on the outside. This is almost a proper use, although Wally would probably wretch at what his name goes on these days.

Ford has an Eddie Bauer Signature SUV. Think Eddie knows that? Think he signed off on the plans for his signature car?

Some fast food joint has a signature coffee. That’s what it’s called. Do you think the new coffee blend at McDonald’s is a forgery?

A hair care products company recently started advertising your signature hair. Those of us who don’t have much feel left out, because what’s left of our hair is too short and too grey to sign anything.

“Signature” has fallen on the same scrapheap as “solution” and “premium” and a whole lot of other words that once meant something and now mean nothing.

A salute to the people who have not fallen on this same scrapheap: Kellogg’s could call its cornflakes its signature cereal, but hasn’t.

The New York City Council (which has its own slogan problem, i.e. “the Big Apple,” a horror unto itself,) could call itself America’s Signature City, but hasn’t. Plus Atlanta would probably sue them for infringement of bad ideas.

The President could reach into his bag of tricks and pull out any number of imbecile slogans and call them his signature lies. But he hasn’t.

Bic is really missing out on a huge opportunity to call itself the world’s Signature Pen. Same story with Alcatraz – signature pen.

You COULD have a signature signature. A “real” one, like for your checks and contracts. And then you could have a non-signature signature. Like for when you sign your expense account, or maybe just put a large magnetic version on your car.

Maybe it’s this kind of draining-the-swamp of content that makes English the world’s most verbose language. We have more than any other language, by 50 percent.

And maybe it’s for this reason that no one understands us – and we don’t understand ourselves and each other.

Or not.

This Wessay was written over the course of two days at the Atherton Hotel in State College, PA, which is not in the running for America’s signature city or town or whatever it is.

At this place, half the time, they don’t even want your signature signature at checkout time.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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