Abraham Lincoln may be Springfield's most famous citizen to hold a patent. But, can Lincoln's patent hold a candle to Dr. Eli Goodman's patent of The Rhetoricon

"The Rhetoricon punctuation mark is used at the end of a sentence, phrase, statement or comment that is both rhetorical and sarcastic; with or without a sense of double entendre," says Goodman. He was inspired to create The Rhetoricon after reading a Reader's Digest story about little known punctuation marks, such as the Interrobang, Acclamation Point, Snark Mark and Certitude Point. (You'll have to Google those, since you won't find them in Illinois Times, which follows the Associated Press Stylebook.) Goodman says his interest in language and punctuation comes from being a longtime reader of The New Yorker.

Eli Goodman grew up in Philadelphia and has lived in Springfield since 2009. He is an internal medicine physician who has worked as a clinician and medical director in large community health centers and correctional facilities. He's also served as medical consultant and medical director for several organizations. Many know Goodman through his eclectic interests and commitment to the community. He's an author, cartoonist, social justice advocate and active member of the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise and a community volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Goodman is a self-described "communitarian" dedicated to the daily "obligation to help repair our broken world through good deeds." He's the author of several children's books, including The White Horse, with the message that racism is not only morally wrong but contrary to biological science. It also teaches that one should not judge another by superficial characteristics.

Goodman enlisted the help of Springfield attorney Michael Kokal, a fellow Rotarian, to apply for the patent. Kokal specializes in intellectual property and is licensed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent was filed Nov. 20, 2018, and approved June 1, 2021. Find out more about Eli Goodman at https://www.eligoodmanmd.com/.

Karen Ackerman Witter

Karen Ackerman Witter started freelance writing after a 35-year career in state government holding various senior leadership positions. Prior to retiring she was associate director of the Illinois State Museum for 14 years. She is the past president of the Kidzeum Board of Directors and is an active volunteer...

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