Z is for Tomayto, Tomahto

I haven’t forgotten my promise to make it through the alphabet with my blogging, but I’m really pretty tired of having “z” hanging over my head. I don’t like writing about things that don’t interest me which is why it’s taken me so long to get through this alphabet and also, why I am stuck on z. But I’m cleaning house to start the year fresh which means by hook or by crook, I’m going to finish off this alphabet. It doesn’t matter that it’s now February; 2015 is still pretty fresh, right? Humour me, folks. I could write about how I’m looking pretty zäftig post-Valentine’s Day, but to be honest the zäftig nature of my body has been steadily increasing ever since the twins were born. Which isn’t encouraging. Nor is it particularly interesting for me to write about.

www.fromoldbooks.org Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]

Historiated decorative initial capital letter Z in Blue [1659]

So, here’s what I’ve come up with. The most basic of basics. Z. To my fellow Canadians and to you Brits, “zed”, to you Yanks, “zee”. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a traditionalist and will always put the “u” in “honour” and “colour” and write the colour grey with an e, regardless of what spell check tries to tell me. It looks better. It’s Canadian. As am I.

And yet, ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to say “zee.”  Only at a very specific time, mind you. I remember learning the alphabet song with my mum and wishing that I could sing “zee” for that last letter, but my British-Canadian mother was having none of it. We are Canadian, she’d say. We say zed. But it doesn’t rhyme, I’d say. Even at a young age, my poet’s sensibility knew that something was amiss. I’ve been uncomfortable with that song ever since.

Recently the twins have been asking me to sing the alphabet song with them and every time we get close to that line, I tense up. I don’t know what to do. Do I stop them when they sing “zed” as they’ve heard their Nursery School teachers sing it? I usually just mumble when we get to that part and join in loudly again on “Next time won’t you sing with me?”

At least they get to sing it. I remember specifically avoiding singing that song with H. when he was smaller for this exact reason. It’s a wonder that kid learned his letters at all. And now he’s come home singing it in French . . . god help me.

P.S. I feel as though I need to add that I am not a rhyming fanatic. Most of my favourite poems don’t rhyme. But there’s something about the rhythm and cadence and flow to this simple song that makes me want to say “zee”. At no other time do I want to pronounce this letter as anything else but “zed”. Crazy, I know!

If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me at: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74


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