'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THIS WRITER IS THRU WITH THROUGH
That’s it, I’m thru with through. I’ve had enough of those bloody English Gs and Hs. Although it is grammatically incorrect and quite unprofessional to use slang spelling such as “tho” and “thru,” instead of the proper “though” and “through,” I just can’t take it anymore.
It’s not that I don’t know how to spell the words. I get them right most of the time. And it’s not that I’m too lazy to type a couple of extra letters each time those words pop up in a sentence. At least the letters G and H are dead-center in the middle of the keyboard and fairly easy to type with the forefingers, rather than off in the far reaches of Pinky-ville, like the question mark, apostrophe, and the cumbersome Q and P.
No, the reason I’m thru with through is because those words are too difficult to read. Though and through are completely different words with completely different meanings and completely difference pronunciations. But the only difference between the spelling of the two words is a tiny R tucked away in the middle of one of them. It’s very easy to miss the R in through or mistakenly add it to though, and end up doing what I did some years ago in church when I had to publicly read the Twenty-third Psalm. I cleared my throat, took a deep breath, and proclaimed in the most sonorous tone I could muster, “Yea, thru I walk tho the valley of the shadow of death…”
Ugh! As the words escaped my mouth, I realized I had just walked thru the valley of the shadow of public speaking embarrassment, which is much more painful than mere death.
So this is my New Year’s resolution: to leave those archaic Gs and Hs behind and wage a one-man campaign to make “tho” and “thru” the acceptable new way to spell those two words.
I fully understand if I write my columns using tho and thru, I will be seen as an uncouth grammatical cretin. Luckily for me, even after all these years using though and through correctly, I am already viewed as an uncouth grammatical cretin. Nothing to lose. For example, I’m pretty sure no other staff writer or freelancer at this newspaper was told by an English professor, “Stick to engineering, son, because words simply are not your preferred medium.” To which I replied, “I’m not sure what you mean by that, Professor, but I’m begging you, I really gotta get at least a C-minus in this class!” (Which I did. Sweet!)
Oh, by the way, I suppose I should have mentioned this tho and thru crusade to my editor beforehand. She might have already corrected all the spellings in this column to “though” and “through,” which would render this essay incomprehensible and meaningless. (But unlike most of my other columns, this time the incomprehensibility and meaninglessness would be someone else’s fault for a change, not mine.)
If possible, I’d like to keep this fundamental change in spelling to just these two words: tho and thru. This effort must not snowball into complete grammatical anarchy, with a frenzied purging of all Gs and Hs. For the time being we ought not consider using thruout, altho, thoro, thawt, ruff, tuff, enuff, and coff. I’m trying to fine-tune acceptable spelling, not turn it into lazy and cryptic text messaging shorthand, such as, “R U UP 4 A BEER RUN?”
So fear not, tho I’m thru with through, I ain’t about to encourage the complete abandonment of proper grammatical rules, irregardless of how attractive that might be.
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