Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“C" as in....“Community”


Something has always remained in my mind that I thought was funny.  Do you know when you are spelling something on the telephone, and certain letters sound like other letters?  An “n” could sound like and “m,” and a “p” could sound like a “t.”

I was working very briefly for a courier service down in Mar Vista.  This must have been in the early 1990’s.  This was before there were cell phones in normal distribution.  So we had to receive most of our instructions from our dispatcher either via pay phone or a radio given to us by the dispatching office.

In between runs, some of us would wait at the office if it was slow and just talk with the dispatcher.  This one time, one of the drivers was calling in by radio trying to get an address right.  He was saying the letters of the street, followed by a familiar word to help the dispatcher confirm the letters.

In his street name, he had an “i” and a “c” somewhere in the middle, and bless this guy, but he just got stuck with them, hesitating over the radio, and finally said, “i” as in.... “intelligent,” and “c” as in….. “community.”

I couldn’t help chuckling to myself and wondering why, out of all of the simple-to-understand words there are in the English language, he picked two clunky four-syllable words.

I made a vow to myself to never let myself get stuck in this way.  It may seem funny, but if one were in a really critical emergency situation, this could be a major waste of time, or a hesitation that would allow a criminal to get away, such as in not being able to read off a license plate quickly to a police officer.

I thought about the most effective way of learning simple words for each letter of the alphabet and recalled that police departments, though efficient, have various names for letters depending on the police department or the area of the country.

I came to the conclusion that the best way would be to use the aviation words for each letter of the alpha-bet.  Here they are:

Alpha
Bravo
Charlie
Delta
Echo
Foxtrot
Golf
Hotel
India
Juliet
Kilo
Lima
Mike
November
Oscar
Papa
Quebec
Romeo
Sierra
Tango
Uniform
Victor
Whiskey
X-Ray
Yankee
Zulu