Beware the impending A2Z problem

Due to increased usage, the Roman Alphabet is beginning to break down.

Professor C. Little of the University of British Columbia’s Linguistic department explains, “We’re over-utilizing particular letters and they’re wearing out!” His biggest concern is for the letter E.

“It’s outrageous!” he exclaimed in an interview. “The letter E is already the most overworked letter in most languages. And now it’s E-commerce this and E-business that, and E-mail wherever you look! When will it end? We have to ease up on these letters otherwise they’ll go on strike or something.”

Some valiant attempts to reduce the use of overworked letters were made in the past. A good example is the extremely, excellent and erudite book entitled Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright (1872-1939). The book was 267 pages in length and contained about 50,000 words. Written entirely without using the letter E, this bold attempt to avoid a future problem was pooh-poohed by the media.

It’s not just the letter E which is burning out because of overwork. The letter O came under assault in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s. The rise of “Object Oriented” thingamabobs unleashed a flurry of OO’s, but this was swiftly countered when O collaborated with a very close neighbour and send a strong NO to the marketplace.

Other letters face the same fate as E unless something is done to stop this trend. The letter X is now called to duty in the most peculiar manner. Regardless of it’s position in ordinary words, it’s being forced to stand taller. In words like “eXecution” and “eXcellence” it is sentenced to forced Capitalization without due process.. This additional responsibility is definitely not a part of X’s job model. It was never designed to stand in front of other letters. It is not comfortable with displaying itself in public in such a pretentious manner. In a pending lawsuit, X’s lawyers are collecting dictionaries as exhibit ‘A’ to demonstrate that historically X is seldom capitalized.

Our abuse, misuse and enslavement of symbols is not restricted to letters. After the rise in popularity of the term “Y2K”, the poor unsuspecting numeral 2 was abducted and subjected to a fate worse than death. This is serious! 2 is not just an integer. It is a number with a rich, even royal, heritage. It is the only even prime number. It also represents the minimum number of people required to create a child, start an argument, and put up wallpaper. Despite the grand legacy of 2, we’re using it to substitute for the word “to” in terms like B2B and P2P. Never has such a qualified and talented symbol been demoted to such depths -for shame!

This is a pressing problem, the repercussions could reach beyond our wildest nightmares. It’s happened before. The letter I, was abused repeatedly in many organizations – specifically on projects with tight deadlines. The result is well known, and motivational speakers are hired specifically to remind us again and again of the terrible consequences that took place. Because of overuse, there is no “I” in Teamwork!

If the abuse of letters, especially the most over worked letter E, continues, then there will be no more Internet, commerce or eccentrics. Unfortunately, consultants, politicians and pollution will continue to exist. As always, we’re exploring solutions even as you read this. One group thought that studying how Zip codes in the U.S. were expanded to meet a growing need, might suggest some solutions. But the notion of breaking E into sub-categorEE’s (sorry, I’ve lost all restraint) of E001, E002, E003 was determined to only make matters worse, not better. There is a simpler solution, just reduce the letter abuse, otherwise the impact of the pnding lttr shortag will b flt throughout the worldwid conomy! Oh no! It’s bgun. Th lttr on my kyboard has just vanishd. W’r doomd!

Ptr d Jagr is a spakr/consultant spcializing in th topic of Chang and th Futur. Good luck trying to rach him at [email protected] (That’s [email protected] if you didn’t get the joke.)

(Editor’s Note: We wish to apologize for the fact that 417 E’s were abused in the publication of this article. We’re sorry! Oops… make that 430… I mean 431… aargh! to hll with it.)

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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