Inventing the Alphabet

by Frank Riccobono

I know that pre-historic man probably didn't write in English, but who knows?


A Wheel
The English Alphabet


OGG: Hey buddy, long time no see! How’ve you been?

UGG: I’ve been good. Inventing stuff. You know how it is. What about you. Invented anything interesting lately?

OGG: (fake modesty) Oh, no, nothing much. Just this. (OGG rolls the wheel) I call it a “wheel”.

UGG: Wow, that’s amazing!

OGG: Isn’t it? So, don’t keep me waiting…what have you been working on?

UGG: Check it out. I call it the “Alphabet”

OGG: (silence for a beat. OGG doesn’t know what to make of it.) That’s…uh…great. What does it do?

UGG: Do?

OGG: Yeah. Like my wheel rolls. That’s what it does. What does your alpha…

UGG: Alphabet

OGG: Yeah, that. What does it do?

UGG: Oh…okay…um…sure…let’s say you wanted me to learn how to make a wheel. How would you go about it?

OGG: I’d tell you all of the steps I took to carve it out of stone and how to make sure it was round.

UGG: Now what if you weren’t there.

OGG: Then I couldn’t tell you and you wouldn’t be able to learn.

UGG: Exactly. But with this alphabet, you can write it down.

OGG: Down where?

UGG: No, it’s a phrase. Writing is how you use the alphabet. Listen, I’ll go through letter by letter and show you how they work. This is ‘A.’ It makes an AH sound or sometimes an AY sound or even an AE sound.

OGG: Okay…

OGG: Wait a minute…that’s not very original. Those sound almost the same.

UGG: Well no, the ‘C’ makes a KUH sound or an SS sound. Next is ‘D’—

OGG: Seriously? Did you put any thought into these names?

UGG: (Continuing. OGG is unimpressed) E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W—

OGG: Wait a minute…Double U? Why is Double U written like two ‘V’ s? Why not just call it Double V or even Upside Down M? I hate to say it, but I really don’t think this whole alphabet thing is going to catch on. It’s not one of your better inventions. Anyway, I have to go. I’m about to invent a better way to hunt wooly mammoths. See, there’s a good invention. Those things’ll be around forever.

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