Thursday, March 1, 2012 | 12:50 p.m.
In Steve Martin's novella "The Pleasure of My Company," Daniel must eliminate the letter E from the words he speaks to rationalize a road trip to Texas. And Martin, the writer, pens several pages of dialogue without using the letter E at all.
This inspires me today as I've discovered the first letter of my own name does not work on the square things I touch to type words on my laptop computer.
Martin's effort in avoiding the letter E seems a tedious, Herculean effort (there are 11 E's in this last sentence and 13 more in this very parenthetical phrase). So to attempt to do the same without using the letter that sounds like the yellow and darker-than-gray insect that makes honey is hardly as much a challenge as his, and I confess my doing it is not at all an original idea.
However, it only comes up as a concept for a short thing to read online as this has happened at a time when I make a living in hockey and no longer in a sport that requires a rounded stick or a leathered sphere to play. Thus, I am more suited to provide a description of what it is with which I am involved.
For example, if I were still working in America's pastime I can not concisely speak of plays that get two outs, or illustrate a runner that leaves the dirt trail that leads to the square white thing. And keeping up with the count, well, forget it. Any description of hitting for the cycle is futile as I can only write of singles, triples and home runs.
In the spoken form, Mirage headliner Terry Fator would have an easier time if he just uses the letter D instead: "On a two-dall, two-strike count Darry Donds Doudled off the wall dut was caught in a doudle-play."
For the written word, however, things grow more complicated. The new Red Sox manager's name, for example, would reduce to "Oy Valentine," which, with the addition of a comma, sounds more like the response to an ill-advised pitching change.
The most rear part of the human anatomy over which pants go, hockey is not so dependent on my malfunctioning letter. Power plays, line changes, and hat tricks are all in play, as are sticks, pads and sweaters. Assists, injured reserved and workers compensation will remain handy, although a penalty space would exist where a player goes after a foul that involves running the opposing player into a tiny white wall.
The Wranglers would play the Achersfield Condors, fitting as sometimes they are a pain. And it is a valid excuse not hold a regular One Dollar Fermented of Sugar from the Saccharification of Starch Drink Night at Las Vegas Wranglers games.
I can't even talk of the ovine rack of sticks smothered in a tangy and spicy sauce. However there is a Q in the name, and that's likely enough for readers to understand.
As it is turning out, this is not so difficult. After all, the letter that is not working on my laptop is worth a mediocre three points in the crossword game that people have played all these years. A three-point letter in this game is like couscous in the pantry in that I'm not going out of the way to make a couscous dish, however it is there if I'm very hungry.
There are two of those letters out of the 100 wooden tiles they provide. It's not as prized as the zed, and not so needed that 12 of the letter E exist. Even the quantity of tiles that are empty of any letters equals two. In my most insecure days, I now understand why my name starts the way it does.
Line furthest from the top, this laptop doesn't need prompt repair. Unless I score a position in the National Orange Round Thing Hoop Association.
I guess we'll cross that span when we get to it.