That S thing we used to draw

Do you remember this “S”?

As a child growing up in the nineties, I learned to draw this simple glyph from my peers. We didn’t know what it meant, but it was easy to draw and it looked cool. So, we drew it on the margins of our test papers, traced it in the sand at the beach and carved it into the benches at church.

Now you’re expecting me to explain where this symbol came from. Maybe it was a logo for a popular lifestyle brand in the nineties. Perhaps it was used by street gangs and graffiti artists as early as the 60s. Maybe it is an ancient rune, dating back centuries to the European continent.

All of the above are true, and yet no one knows exactly where it came from. What’s more, nobody seems to know what it means. Due to its use by gangs, many people recall it being banned in school, but this strange phenomenon goes far beyond gang-related uses. Some suggest it has some connection to the occult, though there’s no conclusive evidence for this theory either. The ultimate explanation brings in the Illuminati and mind control.

Explanations that are restricted to a specific region, culture or time period tend to fall apart under scrutiny for one simple reason: this symbol extends beyond them all. From San Francisco to South Africa, from inner city gangs to middle class playgrounds, from ancient times to the present, this mysterious symbol appears everywhere.

Do you remember drawing this symbol? What did you call it? Hit reply and let me know. If you want to see another mysterious object that has little meaning, but looks really cool, check out BLACK’s incredible yo-yo performance at TED. Thanks for reading!