A Note on Footnotes

Once upon a time, my girlfriend and I were chatting about how the airport in Milan that we had just flown into looked like it was in the middle of a forest. Recalling the last time that I felt as if I was in such woodland terrain – at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Bruce Springsteen’s River Tour 2016 – I made some throwaway comment about the craziness of seeing wild boars running across the entrance to the stadium a few nights before the concert. She responded – as she often relentlessly does – with lighthearted, self-pitying scorn, “Oh, you mean the boars that I asked you to send me a picture of yet you still haven’t?!” Matching scorn with scorn, and taking the opportunity once again to question whether my Bruce-resenting girlfriend ACTUALLY reads my lengthy diatribes, I retorted, “I included a picture of the ol’ boars in the footnotes of my Berlin piece, which you not only claimed to have read, but apparently even liked! As such, you totally should’ve seen the furry creatures by now…” Her fateful response, which inspired this rather random, hopefully brief post:

“Oh, I never read your footnotes.”

“Why?!,” quoth I.

“Because after I click on them…” quoth she, “…it takes me a year and half to scroll back up and find where I left off before the footnote took me all the way to the bottom of the post.”

Truthfully, a few people have expressed some confusion as to how to properly treat the footnotes,[1] but I usually just chalked up such problems to the technological illiteracy of a select few of my more geriatric readers, and assumed a large majority of you have figured out on your own the best way to seamlessly read the footnotes as you progress through one of my behemoths. But now, since my slightly-older-than-me-but-still-fairly-young girlfriend who I always considered to be somewhat technologically advanced has had trouble with them, I thought I’d post this simple step-by-step guide on how to best deal with my sometimes excessive number of footnotes.

Imagine this is a normal post, and you’re just coasting along reading without any numerical distractions. BUT, out of the blue, a pesky footnote – in the form of a number – appears. When you stumble across it, you should click the corresponding number with your cursor or finger. Let’s do it together. And note: there WILL be a sort of quiz at the end of this tutorial to make sure that everyone is on the same page – as Bruce says, nobody wins unless everybody wins! Here we go…

A numerical footnote is going to appear at the end of this sentence – please click on it now.[2]

Welcome back. What’s the passcode?

If you don’t know the passcode – and especially if you skipped clicking on the footnote altogether – then you have not followed the instructions correctly. SHAME ON YOU. If that’s the case, go back to footnote number ‘2’ and click on it. Once you know the passcode, you’ve successfully mastered the art of the footnote!

Let’s do it again because, you know, practice makes perfect. Click on this upcoming 3rd footnote now.[3]


For those who understand how to handle footnotes, my apologies for wasting your time with this post.[4] (If you didn’t click on that ‘4,’ you’re ruining my day). But if this post has proven revelatory for you and you’re now wondering how much you’ve missed in previously read posts, I wouldn’t worry too much; you can very easily go back and read all of them. But even if you don’t, you haven’t missed THAT much; I try not to include anything too essential in the footnotes because such content should be included in the main part of my pieces. Basically, you’ve deprived yourself of some pithy asides and random factoids/observations.

Capisce? Good.




[1] Hi, Mom! Also, if you’re reading this, that means you understand how to use footnotes and thus don’t need to read the remainder of this post…unless you like to savor every single word that I write…again, hi Mom!

[2] Voila – now we’re in a footnote! Here’s the part that I feel like some haven’t figured out yet. When you’re done reading this footnote, simply click the number – in this case the ‘2’ – that begins this footnote. Doing so will immediately bring you back to the original footnote that brought you here from the middle of the textual body of the post, thus allowing you to seamlessly transition back to reading the rest. Are you ready to click on the number ‘2’ at the beginning of this footnote after you’re through reading here? I hope so. Ok, the passcode is, “Bruce Springsteen is God.” Now, click on the number ‘2’ at the beginning of this footnote.

[3] Now click on the ‘3’ at the beginning of this footnote to go back…

[4] Though at the very least you got a peak into the nature of my relationship with my girlfriend! Alright, now click on the ‘4’ at the beginning of this footnote to go back to where you were in the piece proper…