The 20-Letter Alphabet

We find ourselves mired in the manic 21st century. A century that affords us so little precious time to deal with all the many twists and turns that modern life sends our way.

In fact, so many things demand our attention on a daily basis that we now have to double our efforts, requiring, for instance, that we make our telephone calls while driving in the car to our next appointment. Is this where human evolution has led us? To the point where, as a species, we have to multitask while operating a speeding metal box along busy roads teeming with others of our species also speeding along, in the opposite direction, each also in the process of multitasking?! Somewhere, Darwin is shaking his head and wondering if perhaps our species is more closely akin to the extinct dodo than to the ape.

There's just too much going on this century. Too much on our plate. And personally, I can't stomach another bite.

So, I propose that we all find ways to streamline this crazy 21st century life of ours. For my part, I think I'll tackle the alphabet. Twenty-six letters is just too many. There is repetition, and blatantly unnecessary characters. I'm thinking if we can get down to 20 letters it will be a good first step in lightening our future load.

Let's take a look from A-to-Z to see where we can trim some fat:

A - I guess we need A ... after all, it is the first letter, so in that sense it's grandfathered.

B - Need it.

C - Ditto.

D - We need D for the word "Ditto."

E - Okay, here's our first cut. From now on the letter A will also be used for all E sounds (they're pretty close). We may need to change the pronunciation of some words - like bed and sleep - but let's face it, we're in a recession. We all have to make sacrifices!

F - Keep it.

G - Keep it.

H - Keep it.

I - Keep it (see Y below)

J - No longer necessary. Soft G will do the trick. (Note: From now on please refer to me as Gack.)

K - The letter K represents an obvious case of sound repetition with the letter C. Frankly, I don't know how K has survived this long with C doing most of the heavy lifting on such words as cat, capecommentary, and colonoscopy. (By the way, I guess that means my name is now shortened to Gac ... see, I'm saving letters already!) Hey, let's face it, the letter K had it coming with its arrogant silent letter status in such words as knoll, knife, and knee. Who the heck does K think he is?! Good riddance!

L - Need it.

M - Need it.

N - Need it.

O - We will keep O, but it will be required to double up as the number zero as well. Sorry O, but we all have to do our part. Recession!

P - Need it.

Q - This has got to be the second most useless letter ever invented (see X below). Q is clearly not needed when we have the letters C and W kicking around. So, from now on the word quintessential will be spelled cwintassantial. The city of Quincy will be Cwincy. And at the RMV you will no longer need to queue up -- instead it will be a free-for-all, survival of the fittest mentality (see Darwin: Origin of the Species).

R - Need it.

S - Need it.

T - Need it.

U - With Q out, we no longer need U to follow it. The U sound in all other words will be handled with the insertion of two O's ... so mule will now be mool, gruel will be grool, and fuel will be fool. By the way, the U-turn is now illegal in all driving situations (especially if you're on your cell phone at the time!).

V - Need it (for the word vacuum ... otherwise the 21st century will become a plenty dirty place ... by the way, vacuum will of course now be spelled vacoooom).

W - Need it.

X - This letter is absolutely unnecessary. I swear, words like xylophone and xylotomy were invented just to give X something to do. From now on, xylophone will be zylophon, and axe will be spelled acs. And "X" will no longer mark the spot. That job now belongs to the ampersand.

Y - We will keep Y, but this whole business of Y being both a consonant and a vowel is for the birds. Y will be remain a consonant, while the letter I will assume all of Y's previous vowel duties.

Z - For now, the letter Zed will remain part of the alphabet, but it is on probation for the next 90 days.

Let's see, that leaves us with the following 21st century alphabet:

A B C D F G H I L M N O P R S T V W Y Z - 20 letters, a reduction of six (or a 23% savings in these lean recessionary times!).

So, enjoy the remainder of the 21st century with fewer letters ... and presumably with more time to take up a hobby, like learning to play the zilophon.

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