The Legend of the Missing "I"

The Legend of The Missing "I"

During the restoration process for TINKER'S DAMN MANTEGNA, our dedicated team of archivists discovered what appeared to be an oversight on one single card in the original deck. This presented us with a Restorer's Quandary: do we digitally correct the issue, or leave the design intact as the author originally created it?

If you've found this hidden page on our site, then you've probably found the "mistake:" there is a single "I" missing in the Roman Numeral representation for Card No. 23: "Rhetoric," featured in the "Arts and Sciences" section of the pack.

Among his many eccentricities, "Tinker's Damn" creator Augustus Norwood has been described as "perpetually distracted" and "always having a dozen things on his mind at any given moment." Additionally, he lived and worked largely in a vacuum, with no assistants or others to help him proofread his work. Under these circumstances, it's not only unsurprising that an error of this sort crept onto one card; rather, it's impressive that there aren't more issues like it scattered throughout the pack.

Indeed, given that the rest of the pack is remarkably free of this sort of thing, our team had to consider the possibility that Norwood had made this particular "error" deliberately. As one of our staff pointed out, please note that it is the middle "I", not the first or last one, that is missing. In combing through Norwood's papers, we did find reference in his writings to "the middle eye," which seemed to be referencing the mystical "third eye," which in Taoism "provides perception beyond ordinary sight." As Norwood often used eccentric forms of abbreviation in his journals, these references often appear in the forms of "middle I," "third I," or even "the inr. I," which our archivists considered must refer to "the interior eye" or "the inner I."

Was Norwood attempting to hide a mystical concept in the title of this card? Or was it simply a goof-up on his part, or on the part of the original printer, way back in 1927? As no one who could reliably answer that question survives today, it must simply go down as an "Unsolved Mystery." 

Ultimately, our team agreed that, as this project was stated and intended to be a completely faithful restoration of the original work, that we should let the design stand intact as it was originally created, "mistake" and all. We cannot claim that this decision was the right one: only that it was the one we arrived at and stand behind.

-- D. Thornsjo, 
Restoration Team Leader.

or to put it in the words of the great Stan Lee:
"consider yourself no-prized."

Tinker's Damn Tarot & Mantegna ™ and © 2018 Duck Soup Productions.