Kiss my asterisk

I was abused as a kid. Abused by my dad. No, no, it wasn’t some deep dark abuse that scarred me for life. Well, wait a second—actually, he DID scar me for life. See, the man was a fanatic for proper English. And I mean seriously proper. He liked Churchill a little too much. While other kids would be getting a rinse from a bar of Dial for sampling and testing various expletives, I would get at least threatened with the same treatment for a relatively fluffy verbal adventure like “ain’t.”

As all the experts say, those who are abused are very likely to grow up to be abusers. Indeed, I’m now ready to do my part to act as conduit, to channel the fanatically anal spirit of my father and flog it upon those who perpetually struggle with a word that really doesn’t have to be struggled with even a little bit.

The word in question has been getting mangled a lot lately, since it comes up frequently in the chatter surrounding the achievements/antics of one Mr. Baroid Bonds.

Yes, the word would be “asterisk,” a perfectly fine and decent word that certainly doesn’t deserve to be slaughtered on a consistent basis by the so-called professional sportscasters and DJs who continually and shamelessly make a steaming mess out of what is really a rather simple eight-letter piece of work. If this is a word that somehow bamboozles you, just like it bamboozles the ex-jocks (guys who get excellent jobs, even though their command of English is akin to my command of giraffe herding), well, just give me a few seconds, and you’ll have it licked forever. Who knows, saying this word correctly just might save your ass in a job interview one of these days. “You know, that one fellow didn’t know his dong from a doorstop, but I couldn’t help but note that he did know how to say ‘asterisk’ properly.” Nah! Of course that won’t happen. Not unless you’re being interviewed by my reincarnated dad. The word is not pronounced aster-ick. That’s the way it usually comes out when these oafish louts wrangle with it. Horrible. Asterick. Ick. It’s just so wrong. And it’s really an easy word to say. Much easier than “rural,” for example. Just start with “aster,” like the flower. Then say “isk,” as in “risk.” Aster-risk. Asterisk. I mean, what’s the hassle? No, it’s not a word that runs off the tongue, like “vinegar” or “cerulean.” It takes the teeniest bit of gumption to set your tongue in the right spots to pull off “asterisk.” But say it properly three or four times and you’ve pretty much rewritten your hard drive and are well on your way to having it totally together. For life! Asterisk. It’s just not that damned tough. And it certainly doesn’t deserve to have half of humanity blow a gasket and flail all over its collective tongue every time it needs to be used.

OK, next week, I’m gonna try real hard to write about something you give a shit about. I promise. *