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What’s the Best Way to Fill In a Box?

I want to go off-uni today and discuss a topic that’s been on my mind lately. It started when I recently donated blood, as I do every two months. As usual, I had to fill out a form with dozens of questions, which meant I had to fill in dozens of boxes. For some reason that got me thinking about the various ways to fill in a box on a form, and how some of those ways are more satisfying than others.

The way I see it, there are four ways to fill in a box on a form:

1. A check mark. For many years, this was my preferred option. There was something about making the two-stroke check mark — ka-CHECK! — that I found very satisfying.

A side note: Most check marks go from left to right (like the one in the photo shown above). But I’ve occasionally seen people do a check mark that goes from right to left, like this. That looks completely backwards to me, I guess because our culture is used to reading and writing from left to right, so having the check mark leaning to the left feels wrong. Several sources on the internet indicate that this “backwards” check mark is commonly used by left-handed people, but I’m lefty myself and have never done this type of check.

Also worth noting: If you’re filling out a form on the internet and have to click on a box, you usually end up with a check mark, but it’s always fully within the confines of the box. Does anyone actually draw check marks like this? Or, as I suspect, do human-drawn check marks always extend beyond the box parameters?

2. An X. Sometime in the last two years or so I switched from using check marks to X marks. I can’t really explain why — the X just started seeming more satisfying, even though it’s clearly slower and less efficient (you have to lift your pen off the paper in order to start the second stroke).

Again, I’m pretty sure nobody stays within the confines of the box. Hell, going outside the box is practically a small transgressive thrill, right? I also like the “X” to be asymetrical and imperfect, which feels like an organic counterpoint to the staid blandness of the official form being filled out.

3. A ticking mark. I refer here to a simple diagonal stroke. I’ve never liked this method — feels like a lazy, half-assed attempt at a check mark — although I know it has its adherents. Definitely faster and more efficient than the other methods, for what that’s worth.

Also: Does anyone do a “backwards” version of this method, as some people do for a check mark? If so, I’ve never seen it.

4. Filling in the box. Not sure I’ve ever observed anyone taking the effort to carefully fill in each box, like on a bubble form, but it’s certainly an option.

So those are the four primary methods. Did I overlook another possible option? Which one do you prefer to use? if you’re left-handed, have you ever done the “backwards” check mark?

ӬӬDiscuss.

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Back the Bucs! ACE Auto Parts and Q105 of Tampa Bay were behind this 1970s Bucs sticker. Looks like the color registration was just a tad off, but Bruce looks plenty fierce anyway. And that radio station still has the same logo today!

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

•  Check out this 1960s New Orleans Saints bobble — in perfect condition!

•  Pro football teams were stuck on Chiquita bananas — says so right in that print ad!

•  Here’s a really nice promo item I’ve never seen before: All 26 (at the time) NFL teams are represented in this cap patch collection. Each patch is 2″ and they’re all mounted in what looks like an official league catalog. [As a catalog collector myself, I love this one. Too pricey for me, otherwise I’d definitely bid on it. Great find! ”” PL]

•  I clearly recall this Dallas Cowboys poster hanging in the Sanger-Harris department store’s NFL Shop in Dallas, in the fall of 1971.

•  This bevearage glass has the NFL shield and Eastern Division helmets on it and looks like a promo glass. No sponsor’s mark, though.

•  Interesting-looking 1970s New York Football Giants bumper sticker. Why put so much tiny player detail on there when you’re never going to see it from the road?

•  Another Giants item: Who here likes this stylized “NY” logo from the mid-1970s, as shown on this gumball helmet? I like it myself. Why won’t they do a throwback of this one? [Probably because that was a miserable period for the team. They went 5-9, were in the midst of their nomadic/homeless period (a year at Shea following two years at the Yale Bowl), and were generally viewed as an aimless, bumbling franchise. Not a fondly remembered era. ”” PL]

•  Now that is one cool-looking retro Eagles sticker. from the “National Decalcomania Corp.” of Philadelphia, PA. Speaking of the Iggles, here’s a nice kids’ Sears sweatshirt to take a look at.

•  Did someone say Sears? Check out this 1970s Vikings zip-front sweater.

•  Ah, just look at the colors on this Air Coryell-era Chargers pennant. While the powder blues can’t be beat, this is a close second.

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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles has a uniform component. It’s about a button from a fire department dress uniform, and also a St. Anthony medal (see above). Check it out here.

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The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: A few sporting goods stores in Kansas City are taking orders for custom Yordano Ventura memorial jerseys, with “RIP” stitched under the numbers (from Phil). … Tennessee baseball’s Twitter account ran a photo yesterday of pitcher Zach Linginfelter, who had a good amount of patching and stitching done to his pants (from Phil). … A bunch of participants at Braves fantasy camp wore Dale Murphy’s No. 3. … A new study shows that jet lag can have a significant effect on MLB players.

Pro and College Football News: Arthur Blank supported both of the teams he owns at the NFC Championship game on Sunday, wearing a nifty Falcons tie and a pin for Atlanta United FC, a MLS expansion team. The teams will share Mercedes-Benz Stadium after it opens in the fall (good spot by Douglas Ford). … In the spirit of Conrad Burry’s annual playoff brackets for each sport, Todd Hough made his own tracker. … LSU football recruits are being given outdated jerseys.

Hockey News: Earlier this month the Hurricanes hosted a Make-A-Wish recipient with a compromised immune system. His Hurricanes surgical mask wouldn’t stay on right-side up. “Pictured here, it’s upside-down, as compared to the logos on the backdrop,” says Elena Elms. “I never noticed that the logo even had an upside/downside myself.” … Utica Comets goalie Thatcher Demko will wear neon-accented pads on Friday (from Ryan Biech).

Basketball News: The Jazz wore navy at home last night as the Thunder wore their sleeved white unis on the road. Also, the Nets wore black alts at home against the Spurs, who wore white (from Zachary Loesl). … The Knicks’ Lance Thomas will wear a mask after fracturing an orbital bone last week. … A Milwaukee community group is looking to acquire the old MECCA floor and use it in an outdoor basketball court (from Jeff Ash). … Someone on the Bucks game staff drinks from a water bottle with an outdated team logo (from Scott McMichael). … An ad at a D.C.-area grocery mistakenly used a Wizards logo instead of a Capitals logo (from Josh Claywell). … Nevada will wear pink uniforms this week as part of Coaches vs. Cancer. Here’s another look (from Damon Hirschensohn). … The WWE was in Cleveland last night, so Brock Lesnar’s “Suplex City” shirt featured the Cavs’ “C” (from Vaughn Johnson).

Soccer News: FFA — that’s the Football Federation of Australia — has new logos for its A-League, W-League, and Y-League (from @j_foreigner). … European soccer, along with rugby, Aussie Rules, and Gaelic games, have seen numerous examples of teams facing off wearing colors that were too similar (from George Chilvers).

Grab Bag: Many Chicago bars have Old Style signs hanging out front. In the mid-1970s, the brewing company gave the signs out to bars for free, and even offered to install them. … Tom Arnel ran in a relay on the Occoneechee Speedway Trail in North Carolina. It used to be an old dirt race track where Richard Petty used to drive. … New name and logo for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. … Aston Martin may be introducing a new logo. … UNC lacrosse goalie Brian Balkam had a ball go through his helmet during a scrimmage (from Tris Wykes). … “During a race, NASCAR uses several flags to communicate what’s happening to drivers and fans,” says Trevor Williams. “With a new format that includes winning stages within the race, this is the first time I have seen a ‘stage checkered flag that is green and white instead of black and white. However it may been used in All-Star races where there are a lot of stages, but I don’t watch those.”

106 comments to What’s the Best Way to Fill In a Box?

  • Alex Poterack | January 24, 2017 at 7:31 am |

    I am left-handed, and while I don’t draw backwards checkmarks, I do draw them from right to left. That is, I draw the long part of the checkmark first, then finish with the short part pointing off to the left. I didn’t realize this was atypical until a few months ago, when my right-handed wife saw me doing it and was surprised. In retrospect, it makes sense, because I had difficulty drawing checkmarks when I was younger; they always tended to look more like v’s.

  • Don S | January 24, 2017 at 7:46 am |

    A simple “X” would do it.

    • ThePonchat | January 24, 2017 at 10:52 am |

      I’m an X guy too.

  • jay_B | January 24, 2017 at 7:46 am |

    I go with the continuous “x” where you don’t pick the pen up from the page. Not sure what the actual resulting shape is called, but basically it’s an “x” with the right two arms connected.

    • Todd | January 24, 2017 at 7:56 am |

      I do this. It looks like a ribbon people wear pinned their lapel most of the time.

      Otherwise, I will just leave a tick mark. Is it tick or ticking?

      • Joe W | January 24, 2017 at 8:57 am |

        I do basically the same thing, but I connect the left “arms” of my x. For some reason I start in the upper RH corner of the box, down to the lower LH corner, loop up to the upper LH, and then finish off in the lower RH corner of the box. The resulting mark resembles a lower case Greek letter “alpha”. This method makes almost no sense though, because it is backwards of the normal L to R convention of writing, and indeed, when I am “writing” an X, I start in the upper left, down to lower right, then lift my pen and go upper right to lower left. Never gave it much thought until today!

        • Todd | January 24, 2017 at 12:06 pm |

          oh man, now we are getting into that. I guess mine looks like a lowercase alpha…or a Jesus fish…whichever you prefer

    • Jim A | January 24, 2017 at 8:59 am |

      This is me now, except the bottom arms are connected (that way both strokes go left to right). Before I switched to the X, I was a box filler. And even now, I’ll occasionally switch over to circling the box.

  • DenverGregg | January 24, 2017 at 7:46 am |

    I vary based on the context of the box to be marked. If there’s a good deal of space around the box, I’ll use a checkmark. If there’s not a lot of space, then it’s an x. If the box is really small, I’ll fill it in.

  • Peter | January 24, 2017 at 7:46 am |

    Most left-handed individuals do it “backwards”…It’s still amazes me that many right-handed people do not comprehend what lefty’s go through, or that we do things at all with our dominate hand (i.e. I use a mouse with my left hand and righty’s just have their minds blown).

    • Anthony Verna | January 24, 2017 at 11:14 am |

      I used a left-handed mouse at my jobs after college but before law school.

      However, it was too cumbersome to deal with them at home and on a laptop. . . so I just use a regular mouse now. (And also if you need to figure out if the buttons are switched or not on each left-handed mouse. It was more of a pain.)

    • Le Cracquere | January 24, 2017 at 11:43 am |

      I’m largely ambidextrous, but I write right-handed and operate a mouse left-handed. I’ve never used a mouse specifically designed for lefties, and have always used the right-handed button configuration (“left-click” with my middle finger, “right-click” with my index).

    • Kevin | January 25, 2017 at 3:12 pm |

      I dunno. I’m left handed and do ticks the “normal” way. The first time I ever saw the lefty way was a teacher I had in high school but I’ve rarely seen it since.

      I use a mouse with my right hand – can’t really explain why, I guess when computers appeared in my early teens they were set up that way and I just left it that way. I can use my left precisely but don’t just due to habit.

  • dchis | January 24, 2017 at 7:52 am |

    I’d propose a 5th way although it would be a variation on the second “X” method. To save time on making the X I don’t take the pen of the paper and continue the mark. In that way it doesn’t look like an X when I’m done but more like this X) if I could attach the parentheses to it.

    I do something similar when I write a lower case “e” which makes my “e’s” look like a “6” because I was taught to write an “e” with two strokes and it takes to long. For some reason I don’t enjoy starting an “e” from the left to make it one stroke so I start from the right and never pick up my pen to finish it.

  • MotorCityJeff | January 24, 2017 at 7:57 am |

    Check mark for all the reasons Paul stated.

  • arrScott | January 24, 2017 at 8:07 am |

    Who says you have to lifft the pen when marking an X in a box? An X has obvious advantages over a check – it fills the box more completely, and tends to be more contained within or near the box, whereas checks often run close to or even into neighboring boxes. But a box mark doesn’t need to be read as a particular letter of the alphabet, so you can speed the mark by making it a three-stroke X with a closed right side. That’s what my box marks look like.

    Though I will admit to being slightly offput by the lazier form of the X glyph, where rather than being made up of three straight lines with distinct corners – an X that’s closed on one side – it becomes a single flowing loop like a lapel ribbon turned on its side.

    • Mainspark | January 24, 2017 at 8:37 am |

      My mark is similar. The “x” is a single stroke never lifting the pen from the paper. I start at the left hand upper corner – diagonal to the bottom right, across the bottom edge of the box to the left and then back up to the upper right.

  • Hank-SJ | January 24, 2017 at 8:10 am |

    Unless I am instructed to completely fill in a box, I go check mark.

  • Poppy Nurse | January 24, 2017 at 8:15 am |

    Fill in the box, no matter what. Part OCD, part remnant from taking Iowa Basics tests starting in 3rd grade.

  • Dumb Guy | January 24, 2017 at 8:17 am |
    • walter | January 24, 2017 at 10:42 am |

      I love silkscreened products when the printing is a hair out of register. It adds an element of pop art.

  • Traxel | January 24, 2017 at 8:21 am |

    X

  • Dumb Guy | January 24, 2017 at 8:23 am |

    The instructions on the Eagles decal confused me a bit. It didn’t indicate that the glass application should be on the INSIDE of the glass. Perhaps they knew everyone knew that back then when water decals were more the norm.

  • Dumb Guy | January 24, 2017 at 8:30 am |

    I’m a checker.

    (cue the jingle: Wouldn’t you like to be a checker too?)

  • Ferdinand Cesarano | January 24, 2017 at 8:46 am |

    Here are clips of that beautiful 1975 Giants uniform in action, from This Week in Pro Football for weeks 7 and 8:

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=WDa7hJTJzqM&t=16m28s

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=U9muuHrjseg&t=7m59s

    A couple of stills from week 7:

    http://boards.sportslogos.net/uploads/monthly_2017_01/giants-chargers-1975-2.jpg.e341f75949b8d30e19eb7a9242b80ead.jpg

    http://boards.sportslogos.net/uploads/monthly_2017_01/giants-chargers-1975-4.jpg.49e71ddb41733e27d89ab0f3bf6d2c72.jpg

    I would submit that anyone who fails to recognise that this is the Giants’ best look ever is out of his/her bloody mind.

    • Peter | January 24, 2017 at 9:35 am |

      …count me as “out of my mind”.
      This look only lasted a year for a reason and is synonymous with the miserable 70’s (plus the final season in NY in Queens…nothing about this look says / represents “Giants”)

      • The Jeff | January 24, 2017 at 9:51 am |

        Tampa Bay wasn’t exactly a great team in orange, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a good uniform. The same applies here.

        • DenverGregg | January 24, 2017 at 10:22 am |

          The jersey, pants and socks all look great. The helmet looks great but for the logo. Perhaps if the inner blue strokes were narrower it would look better.

      • Ferdinand Cesarano | January 24, 2017 at 10:33 am |

        That NY logo is an uppercase version of the classic/current ny logo. This is a case of modernisation done right; and that logo would still be around today if not for New Jersey’s inferiority complex. The only reason they got rid of it after one season was due to the insistence of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

        I was very happy when the classic ny logo replaced the awful “Giants” wordmark on the helmet. But the 1975 NY logo is far superior. It’s time for the Giants to embrace that mark and bring it back.

    • walter | January 24, 2017 at 11:16 am |

      These always will be my favorite Jints’ uniform. But, yes, the Giants were for shit the entire duration of their tenure. They were the only uniforms with real flair for what is ultimately thought of as a conservative team.

      • walter | January 24, 2017 at 11:45 am |

        Their standout player during this lean period was defensive tackle John Mendenhall, so I’ll always refer to these as the Mendenhall uniforms.

        • Ferdinand Cesarano | January 24, 2017 at 11:55 am |

          Running back Ron Johnson is the guy who defines that era for me.

        • Paul Lukas | January 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm |

          MLBer Alex Johnson’s brother!

          I remember an article about them in Sport magazine, entitled, “The Brothers Johnson: Everyone Knows Ron Is Able, But Why Does Alex Raise Such a Cain?”

        • John H. | January 24, 2017 at 3:22 pm |

          Ron Johnson’s signature seasons were 1970 and 1972 with the current helmet logo.

    • Andrew Harrington | January 24, 2017 at 11:20 am |

      The stripes on the jersey and socks don’t coordinate well with those on the pants or helmet. The logo is also needlessly complex and coordinates with nothing else on the uniform. It’s a very generic and poorly combined look for a team that has carved out a unique, albeit simple one over the decades.

    • Mike | January 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm |

      I guess I’m out of my mind. That entire look is awful. It reminds me of one of those $12 Halloween costumes for a 10 year to dress up as a football player.

      • Jet | January 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm |

        The jersey itself looks good, I like the shoulder stripes. The pants stripes are way too thick, don’t match the look of the jersey. The logo looks too much of it’s time, a 70’s-period look, and not timeless.

        -Jet

        • RickAZ | January 24, 2017 at 2:43 pm |

          Agree about the pants stripe being way to thick.

    • CWac19 | January 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm |

      Though I like the look of uniform, if you cover up the helmet, the rest of the ensemble says “Buffalo Bills” to me.

      • walter | January 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm |

        Not looking like the Bills is a bit of a priority for the New York Giants, given the choice of vintage looks the G-men have and the flailing efforts that Buffalo has worn. It goes a ways toward explaining the red numbers on the NY road jersey.

  • Matt in South Carolina | January 24, 2017 at 9:01 am |

    I am a lefty for most daily activities. Hovever I do sports right handed. I often tell people that they don’t realize what it’s like living on a world built by righties.

    Paul, have you written a blog about left handed people living in a right handed world? I seem to remember one though I may be mistaken.

    • Paul Lukas | January 24, 2017 at 9:08 am |

      I’ve referenced my left-handednesss many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever written a full piece about it.

      • Matt in South Carolina | January 24, 2017 at 9:16 am |

        It might be a fun topic to explore. I’m sure there are things I do that unknowingly are off handed.

        Oh and I write my check marks left to right.

  • Ron | January 24, 2017 at 9:08 am |

    Today’s lede is why I love this site…I’m a checkmark person myself.

    Chris Creamer is reporting small changes to the Mets home and road alts: http://news.sportslogos.net/2017/01/23/new-york-mets-make-changes-to-uniforms/

  • Lauren Melton | January 24, 2017 at 9:10 am |

    My grandfather was left-handed and did his checkmarks backwards. He was a rancher and the brand mark he used for branding cattle was a backwards checkmark.

    Me, I am left-handed and I do it the normal way. It looks wrong backwards.

  • Sean in NoCal | January 24, 2017 at 9:11 am |

    Dedicated check mark guy. And that right side tail usually ends up way outside of the box.

  • Nico | January 24, 2017 at 9:13 am |

    For what it’s worth, in France everybody fills with an X. The checkmark is pretty much nonexistent.

    • Paul Lukas | January 24, 2017 at 9:17 am |

      Interesting! Any idea why?

      • Nico | January 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm |

        No idea, sorry. I’ll let you know if I can figure this out.

  • Matt C | January 24, 2017 at 9:13 am |

    Slow news day? haha. I make an ‘X’ myself

  • ken | January 24, 2017 at 9:17 am |

    For me it depends on the instructions. If it says check all that apply then check it is. If they say mark them..then X marks the spot…and circle gets filled in

  • Mike Chamernik | January 24, 2017 at 9:27 am |

    I was filling out one of those endless forms at the dentist’s office a few months ago, and I got on such a roll that my check marks turned into “V”s. So, I guess that’s what I do.

    Also, for the school version of this, when doing a multiple choice quiz, do people circle just the letter, or the letter and the answer? I just do the letter.

    • arrScott | January 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm |

      Also, for the school version of this, when doing a multiple choice quiz, do people circle just the letter, or the letter and the answer? I just do the letter.

      Personally, I’ve never considered circling the whole answer as an option; the question I go back and forth on is whether to circle the letter corresponding to the answer, or to draw a neat square around it. Usually I go for the square. I can draw a pretty true square with seemingly no effort, whereas my circles are always lumpy, and asymmetry bothers me to an irrational degree.

  • Robert Eden | January 24, 2017 at 9:32 am |

    Filling in the box . . . great topic. I typically make an X, but sometimes I will be unhappy with the quality of the X, panic and then fill in the entire box.

  • Rich | January 24, 2017 at 9:37 am |

    “LSU football recruits are being given outdated jerseys”

    As an LSU fan, I’ll say the recruits are being photographed in better jerseys. I hate the current LSU number font. Another Nike change for the sake of Nike change.

  • Dan Pfeifer | January 24, 2017 at 9:44 am |

    That outdated Bucks water bottle appears, from the looks of the back of the gentleman depicted, to belong to Bob Wanek, who has literally been the team’s official scorer for its entire history, I believe.

  • Traxel | January 24, 2017 at 9:46 am |

    Seems like a + would also do the trick but I’ve never seen it used before.

  • Marcus | January 24, 2017 at 9:54 am |

    The Q105 branding hasn’t been used continuously. The current station on 104.7 FM, the “old” U92, didn’t brand itself as Q105 until summer ’05. The current station on that frequency called itself Oldies 104.7 after a format and call sign swap with sister station WYUU. The pre-swap Q105 brieftly dropped that brand to become 105 The Bee, something that baffles me to this day. I’m so happy to see the Q105 name around!

    http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/tampabay/doc/263713568.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Apr+16%2C+2002&author=DEGGANS%2C+ERIC&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=2.B&desc=Two+stations+to+switch+locations%2C+letters+Series%3A+2b%3B+RADIO+NOTES/

  • Bruce | January 24, 2017 at 9:59 am |

    I’m a check mark guy all the way…and that 1970’s Vikings zip-front sweater is glorious (even if it’s purple!)

  • Andrew | January 24, 2017 at 10:21 am |

    I’m a check mark guy, myself. However, I am not consistent as to the form I use. Even on the same piece of paper, I might have a traditional check mark (e.g. https://d30y9cdsu7xlg0.cloudfront.net/png/835-200.png), one where both sides are equal and it looks almost like a “v”, or one where the left side is so short that it looks like a forward slash or what Paul referred to as a tick mark.

  • DenverGregg | January 24, 2017 at 10:25 am |

    Another little twist on this is whether the checkmark has the little tail at the left. I vote yes on that.

  • DV | January 24, 2017 at 10:42 am |

    “Also worth noting: If you’re filling out a form on the internet and have to click on a box, you usually end up with a check mark, but it’s always fully within the confines of the box. Does anyone actually draw check marks like this? Or, as I suspect, do human-drawn check marks always extend beyond the box parameters?”

    Wasn’t always that way; before the “flattening” of the OS done in 10.9, checkmarks on OS X would go outside the box. Staying “inside the box” makes it easier for alignment and spacing, which I guess is why they changed it.

  • Shane Thomas | January 24, 2017 at 10:44 am |

    I can not swear to the validity of this but I was told many years ago that you should use check marks in boxes on official documents because an X, especially long ago, is the mark people used who could not sign their name. So to avoid confusion you never used an X.

    This especially holds true when working with financial documents. A bank that I worked for would not allow it’s employees to indicate the signature line with an X for this reason.

    As I said, not sure how valid any of that really is but it always kind of made sense to me. I check….mostly :)

    • arrScott | January 24, 2017 at 12:44 pm |

      This explains why the closing agents on the sale of our old house and the purchase of our new one in 2015 prepared the forms with highlighters and post-it arrows, not Xs, to indicate the places to sign or initial.

      But in general, even when signatures are required on forms with check boxes, there is zero ambiguity between where one is signing to indicate acceptance of the document and where one is indicating a preference among options, so except for the most formal contracts, it really shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Deron Steinke | January 24, 2017 at 11:36 am |

    I usually start with a check and then cross it with the second stroke of an X. Anyone else?

  • Ted E | January 24, 2017 at 11:40 am |

    I have to fill in the box. It’s a bit of my OCD but it’s also 20 years of taking Service Wide Exams, the exams you take for advancement. If the block wasn’t filled in the question got marked wrong and you lost points. When you are competing against 80 odd 1st Class Petty Officers for 20 something open Chief Petty Officer spots every point counts.

  • Le Cracquere | January 24, 2017 at 11:48 am |

    I’m an orthodox checkmark guy–it simply looks more elegant to my eye, with a becoming asymmetry and a trailing line like a pen flourish.

    I’ve no quarrel with the “X”, but absolutely hate the diagonal “ticking mark.” Not only does it seem a little lazy, as Paul said … it’s the sort of mark one makes when striking something OFF a list. At the first micro-glance, it looks like an option that the writer has ruled out, rather than selected.

  • mike 2 | January 24, 2017 at 11:54 am |

    Weird – other than elections, I can’t remember the last time I had to check a box with a pen or pencil in real life. It seems like 99% of the time where there’s something to be filled in I have to initial it lately (like on a waiver form or when renting a car).

    But I’m a checkmark guy when it comes up.

  • jsimpfenderfer | January 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm |

    As a lefty I always make the “backwards” check whether it is for marking boxes on forms or marking incorrect answers on students’ work…I find it faster and easier to pull the pen or pencil to make it a backwards check than to push it to make the “normal” mark.

  • Kevin Kelsey | January 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm |

    I use an asterisk usually. Sort of a stylized X, I guess.

  • mild bill | January 24, 2017 at 12:22 pm |

    That Dallas Cowboys poster in Collector’s Corner has to be the worst I have ever laid eyes on.

  • Jet | January 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm |

    I make an “X”, but in a hurried way so that the upper two points are connected because I don’t lift my pen off the page, and the X itself is tilted to the left. I start with the lower left point, move up to the upper right point, then move the pen across without taking it off the paper, then come down the upper left side to the lower right side. With it being tilted slightly, it almost looks like a “4”… what a lot of verbiage to describe an X, eh?

    -Jet

  • Casey L. | January 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm |

    Interesting that the form you filled out which asked for your height had two digits in the first space. I wonder how many 10 feet tall people they’ve had to serve.

    • arrScott | January 24, 2017 at 12:49 pm |

      The tallest documented person in history was 8’11”, so presumably none. Extraneous digit-space like that in forms and account numbers and whatnot irks me to no end. Like, one of my utility-bill account numbers begins with 5 zeroes. Even if a company has ambitions to become a global monopoly, it will never need to number its accounts up to the ten-trillions digit.

  • Robert A. McIntyre | January 24, 2017 at 1:04 pm |

    Left-hander here. I always make an X. Never seen the left-hand check mark before. Too used to Xs.

  • Bob A | January 24, 2017 at 1:04 pm |

    I’ll admit to being lazy and half-assed whenever a form has multiple boxes to be filled. I just hit the box with a diagonal line, what Paul called a ‘ticking’ mark. I’d just call it a ‘slash’.

    And the mention of Giants RB Ron Johnson reminded me of the day as a college freshman (spring ’71) that an envelope arrived containing a two page hand written letter from him. My uncle had met him at a Rotary International function. And my uncle, being the hail fellow well met kind of guy that he is, befriended Johnson on the spot and told him about his nephew (me) who had hopes of being a sportswriter.

    Johnson asked for my address and soon I received the letter. It was part autobiography, part motivational speech. It was amazing.

    BTW..my uncle is now 90ish and still making new friends everywhere he goes. Incredible guy.

    Sorry for the long, off topic comment but it’s a great memory that was rekindled here on UW.

    To get back on point…this right here remains the best Giants look. Maybe my favorite FB uni ever.

    • Jet | January 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm |

      Yup, that’s always how I want the Jints to look.

      -Jet

  • walter | January 24, 2017 at 1:35 pm |

    Jesus fish, or lapel ribbon if you prefer, for me.

    • Special K | January 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm |

      Which way does your fish face, walter? By my count, we have four commenters that connect the right side of the X (jay_B, Todd, dchis, and arrScott), two that connect the bottom side (Jim A and Mainspark), one that connects the left side (Joe W), and one that connects the top side (Jet).

      • walter | January 24, 2017 at 2:25 pm |

        The fish swims to the right, Special K.

  • Marc Rivlin | January 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm |

    I am pretty sure that NASCAR’s All-Star races, along with the Clash races at Daytona, have just used yellow flags at the ends of segments. Here are NASCAR’s explanation of its flags: http://www.nascar.com/en_us/monster-energy-nascar-cup-series/nascar-nation/nascar-edu/rules-guy/nascar-racing-flags.html The flagman also used to wave two rolled-up and crossed flags at the halfway point, which will now be the end of segment two of the national races. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUNnPg-cYxA

  • George Chilvers | January 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm |

    True story – in an election in Britain a year or so ago, someone wanted to express their disgust for a candidate that they drew a “male appendage” in the box next to his name.

    As the mark was fully and clearly contained solely in that box, it was counted as a vote for the candidate.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/32658907/election-2015-mp-thanks-voter-for-penis-ballot-paper-mark

  • Tom V. | January 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm |

    I use a checkmark but for a reason I haven’t seen mentioned here today.

    I use it for the “positive” aspect of the checkmark. In school if you got something wrong it was an X, if it was right it was a checkmark.

    Also, it sort of backs up the box you are marking. If it says mark the box of the candidate you want, I use a checkmark. It kind of says, yes, this is a positive mark for the guy I want. Using an X (which is a negative mark) to mark the box of the guy you want doesn’t make sense. To me that sort of says I don’t want this guy, he gets an X.

    So every box I’ve check in the past few decades has been a checkmark.

    • Ryan M | January 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm |

      I guess I didn’t read early enough in the day. My reasoning is pretty much identical to yours, with regards to a checkmark in school denoting a correct/complete answer, and an x used for something that was incorrect/incomplete. There’s probably something subconscious there, but I’m fairly certain I generally use the checkmark.

      Sidenote: Why does Chrome think “checkmark” isn’t a word?

    • Mullet B Miler | January 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm |

      I’ve used both checks and x’s, and subconsciously, I think this is the reason why!

  • DenverGregg | January 24, 2017 at 2:48 pm |

    I had kind of hoped the candidate in question was Ed Balls.

    • DenverGregg | January 24, 2017 at 2:52 pm |

      That was supposed to be a reply to Mr. Chilvers’ comment above.

  • RickAZ | January 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm |

    Usually use X, but don’t really know why. Maybe because it covers the box better. I’m left-handed and I don’t get this whole issue with the checkmark being more difficult for southpaws. I go left to right. I do wish I was taught to angle my paper the opposite way, so I wouldn’t drag my hand through the writing. Of course I rarely write now anyway, since most communication is done with typing on a computer or ipad.

  • Dan T. | January 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm |

    Maybe it’s just me, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to fill out a paper form with boxes. These days almost everything is done online.

    • Paul Lukas | January 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm |

      You’re lucky!

      This month alone I’ve had to mark boxes for blood donation and two different doctors (my first visit to both offices, so they made me fill out a bunch of paperwork as a first-timer).

    • Jon Rose | January 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm |

      At my doc’s they hand you a tablet and you mark everything with a stylus.

  • John H. | January 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm |

    I go both ways. I find both the x and checkmark attractive. It all depends on my mood.

  • Jon Rose | January 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm |

    The keyring chronicles made me smile. My mother always prayed to St Anthony wen she couldn’t find her keys. And my father was a firefighter.

    • Paul Lukas | January 24, 2017 at 3:29 pm |

      Oooh, that’s two for two! Right in your sweet spot. Glad you liked!

  • DAG | January 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm |

    Count me among the “looped x” crowd. Looks like a backwards “alpha.”

  • David | January 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm |

    The idea of the cultural norms of the left-to-right check mark is probably also why I think Nike swooshes look weird when they are reversed (on the right shoulder, for example, to keep the “curve” in the front, the short end is on the right rather than on the left.)

  • Chuck | January 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm |

    Like so many ebay items listed here, the Bucs sticker and NFL/NFC East glass are not from the 70s. Those helmet graphics didn’t exist until the 80s.

  • Kyle | January 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm |
  • Willard | January 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm |

    X

  • Benjamin Adams | January 24, 2017 at 5:53 pm |

    Celtics just announced that GE is getting logospace on their unis starting next season.

  • Cork Gaines | January 24, 2017 at 5:58 pm |

    I, like others above, am left-handed and I make “backwards” check marks. One thing I haven’t seen discussed yet is “why?”

    There are two areas where a lefty has a disadvantage when writing. One is the obvious: your hand drags through the graphite or ink. The other one is less obvious and is behind why (I believe) lefties make “backwards” check marks.

    When a right-hander holds a pencil or pen it typically leans to the right. So the writing motion for a right-hander is more akin to “pulling” the pencil across the paper. When a lefty holds a pencil, it leans to the left. For a lefty, the writing motion is more like “pushing” the pencil across the paper.

    If you have ever tried to move a tall/long object across the floor, it is typically easier to pull than it is to push. The object moves in a smoother motion. Same is true for writing. Think about trying to draw a line. You are more likely to draw a straight line when pulling the pencil in the direction the pencil is leaning as opposed to pushing it in the opposite direction.

    So when a lefty is making a check mark, if they try to make a right-handed check mark, it is more of a pushing motion. If a lefty wants to make a nice, neat check mark, it is easier and quicker (check marks are supposed to be quick after all) to make them “backwards” by “pulling” the mark to the left.

    This isn’t always the case of course. Some lefties were forced as kids to make them the “correct” way. Other lefties compensate by holding the pencil at an odd angle (e.g. with a highly curled wrist) or they lay the paper at an angle that is more conducive to doing things that conform more to the norm.

  • Talon Lardner | January 25, 2017 at 7:40 am |

    I am one of the few who fills in the box solid, it seems. Might be from doing too many scan-tron tests back in school perhaps, and the habit just carried over. That and I never really liked the look of the checkmarks and Xes going “over” the squares.

  • Constantine Poulos | January 25, 2017 at 1:46 pm |

    I make a X if I got all 10 pins on the first ball and a / if it took two turns.

    Occasionally, if I miss I’ll put a – in the box, and sometimes a number.

    • Paul Lukas | January 25, 2017 at 1:47 pm |

      Best comment of the day.