Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let's Just Stick With Amber Waves of Grain!!

I have a speech impediment. I didn’t find out until last spring, on a leisure trip to Houston, and even then, I wasn’t sure, as neither of the two people who diagnosed me are American, so, honestly, how do they know the correct pronunciation of wheat?!
Turns out, they were right. A couple of weeks ago, playing games with my adopted post grads, it came up again. But with far more ridicule directed at me, as you’d expect out of 22-year-olds.
I say something like wHHeat, apparently, and it’s Weeat. I don’t mean to lay the H on so thick, but I’m not entirely comfortable with pretending it’s not there either. There are other words that require me to turn a blind eye…bologna, colonel, Favre, champagne, and island all come quickly to mind, and all of them make me uncomfortable. I mean, I think there are letters that you can sneak in and they’ll fly under the radar, vowels for sure and even Hs, I guess, but Gs???
I feel like it’s asking a lot to overlook a G! Gnats? Why not nats? We weren’t using that for anything else were we? The G serves no purpose, and really what was stopping them from making it Xnats? If we have to skip the first letter anyway, they should’ve made those little buggers seem really terrifying with a silent X!
And if the Favre family wanted it pronounced Farve, why didn’t they just spell it that way?! It’s not enough that you want us to pretend he didn’t retire multiple times, we have to make concessions on the order of that V and R, too?!
Island? Seriously? Just make it iland or eyeland and call it a day. It’s like whenever our forefathers, or Webster, or whoever decided on these things were sitting around at the English word spelling conference, some dude just got bored and said, “Hey, you know what would be hilarious?” A dozen scholarly, responsible faces turned to him inquisitively. “We could add some extra letters that we don’t need, just to trip people up.”
“Whatever do you mean, young Benjamin?” some old white-haired dude probably said. (Most seventeenth century hell raisers were named Benjamin.)
“I don’t know,” he admits, because he was just bored and trying to entertain himself, so he has to start thinking on his feet, “like….how about we put Ks in front of a bunch of N words? Instead of Nee, let’s make it Knee.”
“That would be Kah-nee, though!” someone interjected, someone who had no authority whatsoever.
“Nah, the K would be silent. Just tacked on for kicks and giggles.”
“Ooohh, and we could put it on knuckle and knit and knickers!!”
“KNICKERS!!” they all cackled together, sharing some stupid, inside, third grade, joke.
And before you know it, there’s a well-spoken, intelligent, otherwise pretty together woman in the year 2012 who is being ridiculed for a speech impediment because she dared to pronounce an H that anyone can plainly see in the word WHEAT!!!
She’s getting Family Guy Wheat Thins segments from YouTube posted on her Facebook wall and brochures in the mail about speech therapy! How is this fair?
And saying wheat wrong should not count as a speech impediment! Not if ABC is going to keep passing off Barbara Walters as normal and Lou Holtz gets to announce for ESPN! They’re skipping over more than the silent letters and getting stuck on some of the others. So, you know what, I’ll say wHHeat however I want!