When did the pound symbol stop being the pound symbol? I blame twitter.

The other day I was walking Dorothy Barker at night and I saw what I thought was the silhouette of a possum crossing the road but it looked sort of weird and that’s because this possum had 8 legs and I was like, JESUS CHRIST HOW FUCKING BIG DO SPIDERS GET?

So I went inside and googled it and google was, “Omg calm your tits. Spiders weigh…let’s see…

…BETWEEN 3500 to 4000 POUNDS.”

And then I sort of worried that maybe I’d fallen into an alternate dimension with giant spiders so I showed it to Hailey and they were like, “Spiders weigh 4,000 hashtags? That’s not even English” and I was like, “POUNDS, YOU SWEET INFANT. THAT SIGN MEANT ‘POUNDS’ WAY BEFORE HASHTAGS EXISTED.”

But then I clicked on the link that the factoid came from and it clarified that “most spiders are only around 2900 pounds but with options they can weigh as much as 4,000 pounds” and I was like, “I’m buying a flamethrower immediately” but I continued clicking through from under my covers and turns out it’s a type of tractor and google just likes to fuck with me.

It doesn’t really explain the eight legged possum but it is possum season (this is a real thing) so maybe it was a mommy possum with its baby walking behind it? Either way, it’s a little nice to know that we’re not living in a dimension with 4,000 pound spiders and at this point I think we just need to celebrate the little things.

68 thoughts on “When did the pound symbol stop being the pound symbol? I blame twitter.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. One should not be allowed to name a tractor a spider, because talking about spiders being that big…or roaming in fields, or living on farms meanacing farm animals and families, are all just disturbing.

  2. More than likely it was a mom with babies hanging underneath and with some shadow it looked like extra legs. That or you got some extra special ketamine the other day. 50/50 really.

  3. Well…you do live in Texas and I’m always hearing that everything is bigger in Texas! I don’t know what’s more frightening – an eight-legged possum or a 4,000 pound spider. How about a 4,000 pound, eight-legged possum?

  4. I just saw a YouTube video on this subject, Lost in the Pond. I was taught that # means number and lb means pound, so in the early days of phone menus, it was incredibly confusing and I guessed. BTW, I’m the same age as you, and my husband learned # as pound, so I have no idea why we were taught differently. Regional, maybe?

  5. Thank you for making my morning so much better! Unfortunately I snorted my cream of wheat all over my computer screen. Worth It!

  6. I would have freaked out too and definitely gone down that rabbit hole. O.M.G.

  7. I had a opossum in my garage and allowed her to live there as it was birthing season. A call to the Palm Springs animal shelter said they would pick her up and, well, you know. The Living Desert hotline said “she” might have babies and so I let her hang in my garage behind a piece of plywood. She made a neat little nest and rarely opened her mouth of lovely arranged teeth-along with that distinctive hiss. And they do not carry rabies! And the kids kinda hang on the Mom as she perambulates around. Anyway, My a/c guy always remembers when he comes by that the opossum pal was here. You gotta love an animal that is shaped like an eggplant! And teeth like a dolphin!

  8. # could be number, pound, sharp, or hashtag.
    Maybe it’s really a sign of laziness in our creativity that we keep recycling the same symbol. I was just pointing out today that some forms of math would be less confusing if they didn’t borrow letters from the alphabet. Why not just invent more symbols?

  9. If 4000-pound spiders existed we’d definitely be eating them, because they’re basically king crabs but on land, and look at how valuable those things are despite living on the bottom of the ocean in the arctic. They’d probably be endangered.

    Large predators like that don’t tend to do very well when confronted with human civilization, even when they’re not really tasty, so I doubt you’d be running into one in your backyard any more easily than a grizzly bear or a tiger.

  10. I once saw what I thought was two armadillos at night running across the road, but I live in the northeast, so that would be unlikely. Turns out it was two raccoons but nighttime can trick your eyes into seeing something other than what you are really looking at.
    I love opossums, they eat a tremendous amount of ticks, and we are having a serious population explosion in the tick population in the northeast and upper Midwest, and a huge amount of ticks are testing positive for lots of different tick diseases. Please make your opossums welcome because they are tick eating superheroes.
    Pound or hashtag?
    Or tic tack toe grids?

  11. My question is why would a tractor named spider be the FIRST thing to come up when you Google anything about spiders. When people look up spiders it’s because they want to know if the creepy thing with too many legs and too many eyes they just saw (and/or were bit by) is going to kill them, not about machinery almost no one knows how to use. Seriously Google, I think you might be broken.
    And my daughter also only knows it as “hashtag” and therefore can’t call in her own prescription refills to the pharmacy because the automated phone system there calls it “the pound sign” which confuses her EVERY time, leading her to hang up and rant “why can’t they call it a hash tag like everyone else,” until someone else call in her prescription. She’s about to graduate from high school but I suspect she’ll live with us forever.

  12. It was probably a mommy possum with babies clinging to her back with their tails hanging down. I’ve seen this myself and if I had not had a street light close by I guess she would have appeared as a many legged shadow.

  13. # should definitely be the pound sign. I am offended that no one knows what that means any more.

  14. So of course I immediately had to google ‘spider tractor’ & if those things ever become sentient, I will need to move to a different planet!

  15. This isn’t about your post but I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about EMDR therapy for depression. I was wondering if you’ve heard of this?

  16. I’ll take an eight legged possum over a 4000 pound spider any day. And I remember the ancient times when # was a pound sign. It was the same era when everyone spaced twice after a period. Now I may be the only one doing that. #oldfart

  17. On a somewhat related note, let’s talk about the designation for a thousand. Before computer-speak, I always used M, since that’s the Roman numeral for 1000. My coworkers did too (we sold reels of wire and tools that came a thousand to a box, etc.) Then everyone started using K. Am I old that I keep using M when taking notes? People think I mean a million. Yes, I owe the IRS $3M. That’s less frightening than it looks. 🤣

  18. I call my coworkers Sweet Summer Child pretty regularly. They, too, would have called it 4000 hashtags. We are doomed

  19. I think there’s also a Spider sports car thingy??? IDK. I have to explain to students that phones were once attached to walls and you’d have no idea who was calling unless your mom would pay extra for caller id. Mine would not. #old

  20. I still use it to represent pounds (I had bariatric surgery and belong to those support groups). To Galixie’s point, sure it would mean sharp if it was written 🎵# on a 5 line grid, but in this context….not so much.😆 used to live in Texas and in all honesty, I prefer seeing 8 legs to ZERO legs! In 20+ years in TX I was never once attacked by a snake. I’m in FL less than 3 years and one was sunbathing in my front shrubbery and one one attacked me while I was picking up poop in the back. OK, It slithered into and out of my pooper scooper mear inches from my shoe and my dog DID NOTHING. But I digress. A 3000 pound ANY creature would certainly send me to the local fire thrower store STAT.

  21. This reminds me of when a neighbor mentioned that another neighbor had a bobcat in her yard and i totally freaked out: WHAT??!! A BOBCAT!! OH MY GOD!!! WHAT DID SHE DO????? and it turned out she meant a piece of heavy equipment for moving dirt. amusing yet irritating nonetheless.

  22. As a musician, # will always mean the note is sharp. When they first started to use it for pound, I was very confused and had no idea what they meant. * is an asterisk, not a star. It signals a footnote.

  23. I recently had a phone text read back to me through my car. My husband texted me asking to buy 8# of roast. My car read it as “8 hashtag of roast” and I about lost my mind. I never want to hear that nonsense ever again. I am currently looking into if I can return my brand new car for its stupidity.

  24. Um, actually, technically, pedantically, it’s an octothorpe. No? Just me? I have to go polish my nerd glasses….

  25. Comment for reader number 10 – That’s the symbol for British monetary unit.

    Am I the only one who uses lbs. (whatever the hell that represents)?

  26. Spiders only weigh that much in Australia so you’re ok in texas. They probably only weigh 10# at the most in texas maybe 20#-30# in Florida lol

  27. Ok, so, bad thing: my friend told me once that tarantulas migrate in Oklahoma, like across roads. He had to stop once for them to cross the road. Good thing: they were reasonably sized tarantulas (snack plate size), not 4000# big bois. I think he was probably messing with me.

  28. I am sorry it was frightening (how could it not be?). But I am real glad we got to hear about it. And whyyyyy would they name equipment spider? That’s just messed up. I agree it was probably a possum with attached babies. I can vouch that seeing that in the dark is creepy. But in Texas they do have tarantulas that can be seen across a field. Which is horrifying. I was on a quad riding across the field when I saw one. Absolutely horrifying.

  29. Those tractors frighten me. I encountered a really tall one on a highway once and couldn’t figure out, “Do I go under it? Around it? Do I stop and just cower in fear?” (I was driving in a rural farmland state)

    And one more for Team Octothorpe! I teach my piano students that name every time I introduce sharps

  30. Pretty sure Aragog could have weighed in at least 800-1000 pounds, but it would have been written as X many “stone” so would have ended up less threatening maybe? Google says 800 pounds is only 57 stone. That’s unfamiliar enough that I could imagine it like a medium dog (or a possum carrying several babies?).

  31. What a story! And the comments had me laughing out loud! I needed all of them. Octothorpe…….I love it.

  32. Sign me up for Team Octothorpe! I must find ways to use that in conversation.

    I want to know what KIND of spiders are masquerading as tractors. Garden spiders? I could see how machines that also eat pests could appeal to farmers. But the webs might be a problem.

  33. You could be right on both counts! Perhaps someone got a little too creative with their dog or with their pet possum (cringe and shiver) and unleashed this:


    😆 I would run SO fast! You should have someone do a creature/spider dog/cryptid sketch… Jenny, is THIS what you saw? 😂

  34. Here’s a blast from the past: I was typing on a manual machine the other day (it was a display in my mom’s Memory Care facility, but my son was looking for a real typewriter to use for a project) and, once I got it untangled and actually working, it was functional but faint. I was trying different settings of things and when it came time to type “setting 1” so I could keep track of results of my experimentation, I couldn’t find the 1 key! The numbers went from 2 to 0 along the top row. I finally typed out “setting one”, completely forgetting that back in the day, we used the lowercase L for the number 1.

    I was taught lb first (which comes from the Latin words for “pound by weight”), then # came along later. It also means sharp to me (musician). Hashtag is for the youngsters.


  35. My Dyson could not handle spiders weighing thousands of pounds! I’m sorry that would have me checking out with no regrets. I’m not made for that life.

  36. I’m from Houston. So, seeing #’s makes me think of going to dance at 80s night. LoL

  37. I tried questioning Google with “how much does a spider weight” and got the same huge numbers.
    Here’s why: Google doesn’t care what you want to learn, they want to be able to provide you with links to PRODUCTS, like Spider tractors. Follow the money!

  38. In all my 57 years, I’ve never seen the pound sign used for the weight “lbs” – now my mind is blown. I’m not in the US, but # was always the key you’d “pound” on the phone pad (after we lost our dial phones) until it became a hashtag. Now I’m just confused.

  39. for those confused about the # sign.. #3 means number 3…3# means 3 pounds.. it depends on where the # is placed

  40. My niece couldn’t figure out what I meant when I said # symbol (it was part of WIFI password). She was 22 at the time (7 yeareas ago)

  41. I think of that symbol as number because I’ve never seen it used as pound except on a phone. I assumed pound must mean something different from weight on a phone, like hitting something really hard. I’m in my 40s and this is the first time I’ve seen someone use it in a sentence with that meaning. We’ve gotta stop using the same symbol for everything (number, pound, sharp, hashtag, cartoon swear words, etc).

  42. I have never heard a “sharp” symbol (from my music lessons) called a “pound” symbol. It took me a while when techies adopted and renamed it to “hash”.
    On auto-phone calls, I would be very confused if I was asked to press the pound sign because there is no £ on my phone.

    There again, I am British!

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  45. No!! The tractor doesn’t have eight legs or even eight wheels, so it shouldn’t have named itself after an eight-legged creature!!! Maybe Snail would be a better choice!!!

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