When yesterday I received an email signed “rgds,” a trite valediction closing an email to a group of professionals, I stopped. Rgds? Really?
Was the emailer intending to communicate familiarity with his recipient by dropping the vowels in “regards,” or was he simply demonstrating tired sophistication with the keyboard — too familiar was he with keystrokes that vowels were an interference and, therefore, a waste of time in the rhetoric between us? Or was it simply that everything is now bound by constraints even when we are constraintless?
No matter the reason, vowels are now the victims, and as a result, it seems fitting to compose an ode in response.
To what consonant altar have we subscribed to?
And what innocent A E I O or U has been sacrificed?
Thou still impoverished and vanishing ever more quickly,
Dear friends! Who can now explain,
The reason more aptly than our current style:
Why we’ve simply banished the unaware vowel?
Just as quickly as we forget E-I-E-I-O, we adopt truncation,
In email, we sign “rgrds;” in retribution, we give “thx,”
Too much in a hurry to round out the fuller sounds.
What mad pursuit do consonants offer? What ecstasy might they bring?
If “I before E except after C” is relinquished to merely “C,”
What substance do we have left before?
Thanks to Keats.
Old posts in transition. This original post written in 2009.