If some sort of a wizard appeared in your house one day, and he said to you, “I’m going to remove one letter from your vocabulary. You get to pick which one. Once it’s gone, you won’t be able to say that letter anymore,” which one would you choose?
My immediate choice would be the letter C, seeing as how you can get away with using K or S. Would I still be able to write with the letter C? Would I be able to recognize it in the outside world? “Don’t try to get clever,” the wizard would say, “C doesn’t count. You have to pick another letter. Something with some serious consequences.”
And I don’t know. Maybe I’d choose the letter T. I think that I have a pretty decent shot at still talking somewhat fluidly without relying on the letter T. And yeah, my voice would be markedly different, but it wouldn’t be a handicap. If anything, I’d sound British. Maybe. I guess it depends on where the T is in a word. If it’s in the middle, I could get away with it. For example, “sitting” would turn into “si’ing,” which, yeah, I guess that’s an awkward way to write it down, but use your imagination. Doesn’t that sound like one of those magical chimneysweeps from Mary Poppins?
But if the T starts out the word, that’s where I think things would get confusing. Like, say, “tacos” would become “acos,” and that doesn’t really sound British. It doesn’t sound anything. “Tennessee,” “Texas,” “Tacoma,” are hardly the recognizable places they are without the T right up front. And what about T when it’s used with H? Isn’t TH its own unique sound? If I choose to lose my Ts, would I have to rely solely on the H?
I think I’d go with Z. Yeah, I think I could get away with replacing all of my Zs with Ss. I’m sitting here right now and saying all of these Z words out loud: “zoo,” “zip,” “Zanzibar,” and yeah, I think the confusion would be minimal, as long as I talk really fast. Nobody is going to say anything.
But maybe the wizard wouldn’t like that trick either. “Sorry, that’s the same as the C rule, it’s too close.” At which point I’d be like, “Well, why didn’t you say something earlier? What kind of a wizard are you? And what do you get out of taking a letter away from me?”
I probably shouldn’t be that aggressive in the unlikely event that I do find myself confronted with a powerful wizard actually capable of removing individual letters from a person’s vocabulary. But for real, is this a punishment? Did I do something wrong?
And maybe he’d be like, “Yeah, it’s a punishment. I’m an evil wizard. This is what I do. And I gave you the chance to choose, but since you want to stand around and be argumentative, I’m going to choose for you. It’s G. You can’t say G anymore.” And he’d snap his fingers and then, poof, he’d vanish.
And I’d be screwed. Because how do you say words like “orange” or “grapefruit” anymore? And all of those words that end with –ing, I’m going to sound like I’m from the south or somethin’. What happens if I’m ever vacationing in Japan and a giant dinosaur emerges from the ocean and starts destroying the city? What am I going to scream when I point to the sky in terror? Even in the general panic, people are going to stop and look at me and say, what’s wrong with that guy? Why’s he talking so weird?