Column Date 2007-02-17

President revises alphabet; eliminates the letter "Q"

Washington, D.C.  In a statement from the White House this morning, President Bush declared that he was, by executive order, eliminating the letter “Q” from the alphabet.

“We all know Q is a bad letter,” he said, “Why, what’s the first thing you think of when you think of the letter Q? Al-Queda. And Queer. And Queen – and you know I’m not talking about the Queen Mother,” he added with a chuckle.

From now on, the letter “Q” will be replaced by the letter “N” – a “sincere, hard-working letter,” in the President’s words.

“The letter N is one of the friendliest letters in the whole alphabet,” he said. “It’s at the beginning of all sorts of good words, like “nice” and “nuckle-ball” and “nose job” – very important for our young people. “Not to mention important words like “nuk-ul-ar” and “night cap.”

“And it’s at the end of words like “American” and “Republican” and “vacation.”

Press Secretary Tony Snow simplified the concept for the public: “Q is bad, N is good” he said. “Get it?”

“So starting next week, by executive order, the letter N will replace the letter Q in this great nation of ours,” Snow said.

As an example of how this would work, Snow presented several statements from 2002-2003, in which all the “Qs” have been removed and replaced by “Ns”:

“We have undeniable proof that Iran has built and is hiding hundreds of weapons of mass destruction.”

“When our soldiers enter Iran, they will be greeted by cheering crowds throwing flowers.”

“Iran has been negotiating with an African country to buy uranium.”

“We must spread democracy to the people of Iran.”

“These are all time-tested, persuasive words,” Snow said, “and we feel very good about using them again, with Ns instead of Qs.”

“After all, this administration strongly believes in re-cycling.”

Mr. Snow did not take any questions from reporters.

When hearing about the proposed alphabetical shake-up, the mayors of Queen City, TX, Quincy, MA, and Quantico, VA immediately went on record as opposing the change.

A spokesperson for the Society of Friends (Quakers) said they were not amused, and hoped the President would spend some time meditating, in peace and quiet, before implementing this decision.

And representatives of Ducks Unlimited were quick to express their annoyance. “What the hell are ducks supposed to say now?” one member complained.

©2007 Peter Tannen