Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If 'Segue' is Pronounced 'Segway,' Why Isn't 'Agway' Spelt 'Ague'? Popcorn by The Colonel #28

David Keochkerian lReflection.
Did Dr. Seuss take acid?

1/     Chion Wolf is Colin McEnroe's producer and co-conspirator on WNPR-FM radio. She has a recognizable voice, as does Susan Forbes Hanson, and it is nowhere more distinctive than when she pronounces the call letters of all the other stations that take feed from WNPR. She fully pronounces every "double-you" in a way that at first makes you think she's somehow mispronouncing it, until you realize that regular people say "dubba-you," not "dub-UL-you." That prompts the following reform proposal: rename the letter W "dub." Then it would be a monosyllable like the name of every other letter of the English alphabet, and WWUH-FM, for example, would have more time for music and ranting.

2/    And while we're pondering alphabet letters, why do Greek and Hebrew have spelt-out names for their letters (alpha, aleph), but English doesn't?

3/     You're probably asking yourself, "If we change the name of W to 'dub,' what impact will this have on the alphabet song? Good question: that's why they pay you the big bucks, right? Well, not to worry. We adjust the song to cover the lost syllables, perhaps like this: ...T U V, dub, X, Y, Z, YOUR AD HERE. Now I know my ABCs, etc.

4/     The Colonel once painfully taught himself to say the English alphabet rapidly backwards, using the training sequence: "Zikes [zyx], wave you tee [wvut], sir [sr]! Quip on [qpon] MLK [Martin Luther King]. Jo in her goodness (jihg) fed CBA [Connecticut Bar Association]."

5/   If you spend the couple of minutes it takes to learn this feat, keep it quiet, because if you demonstrate it other than to win a money bet, people will make hurtful remarks to the effect that you have too much time on your hands.

6/   One real-world use of your new talent is in dealing with telemarketers, especially if you speak excitedly in accents of the great Indian subcontinent.

7/     If you haven't the time or inclination to learn the backwards alphabet, the forward one works pretty well with telemarketers, too: "I jaykay Ellamen O'Pea. Cue are esty you? Vee double you eggs. Why zee?"

8/     If you haven't the time or inclination to learn the alphabet forwards, either, you are not helpless before telemarketers. Try one or more of the following approaches: 

■ "Are you affiliated with the people sending me messages through the fillings in my teeth, ordering me to do horrible, horrible things?" 

■ "I had a strange dream last night about this very call. Would you like to hear it? There's a lot in it about your personal future that may startle you and trouble you deeply." 

■ "I may have to put you on hold frequently because ... well, because I have to. The reasons are personal. Can you deal with that, my friend?"

■ "I'll be glad to listen to you as long as you like, but I won't be answering any questions. Mother taught us not to give out information on the phone to strangers."

9/    Of course, you could behave like an adult and say: "Thank you for calling, but I'm not interested. Good-bye," and hang up. That would be compassionate treatment of the caller, but it's hard to feel pity for people who make their living by intruding on your peace. Still, imagine their lives. As Quentin Crisp said, "To know all is not to forgive all, but to despise everybody."

10/   He also said, "There's no need for housework. After four years, the dust doesn't get any worse."

Apopemptic quotation: "There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting." --David Letterman

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