As large inanimate objects occasionally do, some of the water district tanks play the role of canvas for the graffitists. Much of it is the juvenile, banal why even put in the effort variety, but every once in a while there’s something quite good, or at least amusing or thought-provoking. A recent sighting was one of the later.

That is, the 3 bar E. Still reads as an E. So got me to wondering about how much can you take away from any particular letter and it still be that letter. Which I suppose is the question of what makes that particular letter what it is – what are the distinguishing characteristics? And then my mind spun off from letters to anything in life – what is it that makes something what it is? Or makes someone what they are? Is it some fundamental essence? Or the things they do?

Then, I took a picture of just the “E” and realized that its E-ness was actually coming mostly from the context that it was in. If I’d just come across the 3 lines floating by themselves with nothing around, I probably would not have read it as a letter. Huh. And again, how much of life is like that, dependent on context?

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