Recently it has come to my attention that I have an unconscious bias against words that begin with the letter “g.”
An annoyingly careful reader pointed the problem out: “Have you ever noticed that you always use the word ‘cemetery’ instead of ‘graveyard’ to describe places where zombies rise from the dead?,” this reader noted. “You also use words like ‘oddball’ and ‘freak’ to describe people who are clearly ‘gifted’ with extraordinary talent or expertise. And nowhere in your work have I ever seen you use the words ‘gentrify’ or ‘gulag.’ What have you got against ‘g’ words?”
I of course consider it reprehensible to discriminate against any letter of the alphabet. To wit, I have lobbied extensively to allow drug companies to use more “z”s and “x”s in their product names, and have written to Congress to officially declare the letter “y” a vowel. So when the “g” problem surfaced, I conducted a full self-investigation and discovered, much to my chagrin, that I apparently do hate words that begin with the letter “g,” and avoid them at all costs.
The question is: Why?
At first, I thought my aversion to “g” words might be a result of my intense religious devotion. Out of respect for the Almighty, do I avoid using the letter “g” because the letters “o” and “d” naturally follow, and to type anything else would be blasphemy?
Then I began wonder if it might have something to do with my awful handwriting. A note I made in one of my high-school English notebooks clearly reads, “G words suck big time.” But upon closer inspection, what I appear to have actually written was, “Georgics sucks big time”—referring of course to the poem by Virgil, which does kind of suck, but does not explain my “g” problem.
Desperate to find an answer to my apparent bias, I took a magnifying glass and examined my computer keyboard. Under magnification, but invisible to the naked eye, I saw quite clearly that a largish muffin crumb was stuck under the letter “g” on my keyboard. Hardened and immovable, this crumb made it impossible for me to type a “g” even if I wanted to. This explains why, in one of my stories, the protagonist is afraid of a “host” instead of a “ghost,” an omission that led at least one prominent critic to describe my work as “borderline insane.”
I am happy to report that the problem has been solved. The crumb has been removed and I am now free to use a generous gaggle of gratuitous “g” words, including great glistening gobs of gerunds and other glorified gobbledygook. This newfound freedom to use all twenty-six letters of the alphabet will, I hope, lead to more fascinating and accessible literature—the kind that doesn’t suck, and doesn’t require a critic to interpret.