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Yo, Matt:

Why do pawn shops have a logo like three cherries? What's the story behind them? And what ailment is Walt Disney waiting for a cure for while frozen? Do you age during your animated suspension, cryogenically speaking?

-- C.G., Shelter Island

Yo-ho-ho, C.G. A little too much salt air blowing through the brain cells, matey. Too many hours on that deck chair in the sun. If we aged in our frozen suspension, what would be the point of being popped into the big Zip-Loc in the first place? Early on, cryonuts did have problems with freezer burn, like any lamb shank you might throw into your fridge. Apparently they've solved that one. But the real biggie yet to be perfected is how to thaw us without doing cell damage. Fewer than 100 Americans have opted for either whole-body or head-only freezing. But the industry is counting on the Boomers' growing desire for immortality to boost their ratings. By the way, you have roughly ten minutes from the time you die to get yourself into the liquid nitrogen bath. Consider the potential cat fight when one frozen gentleman and his two iced-down wives are brought back to life. (He married the second after the first died.) He might rather stay in his tank and forget it. The cryofolks also suggest you have an insurance plan that will provide you with pocket change when they bring you back.

Car fare isn't something Disney would have to worry about, but it doesn't matter because he isn't frozen. That's a shopworn urban myth. Walt went in fire, not ice. Cremated.

But say you thaw out and need some folding green to revive your wallet. The pawn balls are not slot machine cherries, despite their common connection to the idea of "quick cash." Speculation has it that they're adapted from one version of the Italian Medici family's coat of arms, which depicted three gold spheres. The Medicis were all about banking and money and power. And this answer is about as reliable as any of our bouts with word-origins. Believe it at your own risk. And by the way, it's "cryonics," not "cryogenics."

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