The Apple Command key (or, as you might better know it, ⌘) has a beautiful and clear history. Originally, the ⌘ key was an Apple symbol instead, but Steve Jobs thought that using the Apple logo as a keyboard shortcut in the original Macintosh’s menus was “taking the logo in vain” so he tasked the great icon designer Susan Kare to find a solution. The symbol she chose was the traditional clover symbol we all know today, chosen because it is commonly used in Scandavaniva to indicate a tourist attraction or place of interest.
Interesting, right? Unfortunately, there’s no related story as to why the Option key has its own unique (and very abstract) symbol: ⌥. Marc Edwards’ brilliant take on what the ⌥ symbol means is doubtless revisionist history, but I love the visual metaphor of a train switching tracks. That may not be the real tale, but it should be.