Thursday, April 14, 2011

Poppy's Name

Many people have claimed that English is a funny language. When a word is spelled a particular way, it should be pronounced the same way. Surely, if the relationship between a spelling and its pronunciation was meant to be different, then the Gentlecreatures that attended the conference at the Tower of Babel would have decreed it to be so. Indeed, when the first divergence between pronunciation and spelling propped up in the language spoken by the Gentlehumans, a lot of creatures were baffled at the utter contempt of tradition, honour and the decrees made by the Gentlecreatures at the Tower of Babel. Why, even the plankton strictly adhered to the codes laid down by the Learned Ones, who knew much more about Speaking and Words than anything else. Even the plankton, who were considered to be the Lowliest Forms of Being on the Great Planet. Even the Housefly clan, the Most Intelligent Creatures on the Great Planet, adhered to these rules, for they knew better than to mess with laws that had laid dormant for thousands of years. But the Gentlehumans, who strangely chose to surround themselves with walls made of stone, decided to alter the Spelling-Pronunciation Continuum.

But, alas. The Gentlehumans are known for a lot of things, but kindness or gratitude has never been one of those. I belong to a clan that was quietly adept in the languages of our kind and the languages of the creatures that we shared our land with. We frolicked with these creatures, we shared the rain with them, we shared our words with them. I was reared by a flower, as all beings of my kind are. Polly, for that was her name, was considered to be impolitely strange by her sistren. But nobody knew that most of her weirdness arose out of her intelligence, for her Knowledge, in all its infinity, was too immense to be stored within her small body. In her Infinite Wisdom, she gave me a name that jolted our little slumbering habitat from its Wordsly sleep. She broke the Spelling- Pronunciation Continuum, a feat that nobody had ever achieved before. Not even the Much Speaking Nightingales broke the laws laid down by th Babelians. Polly, in her Infinite Wisdom knew what she was doing, why she was doing it and how it would change the world. But the Sistren of the Flowers, in their Limited Wisdom were incapable of understanding her feat. They banned Polly, and me, the Child with the Accursed Name. Not that it ever occurred to me and Polly, even in her Wisdom, that this was a bad thing. The Slumbering Habitat was too little a place for both their minds to wander unbroken. We frolicked together, with creatures outside our own Habitat. We spread our words, our words and my name. We taught the creatures that laws could be created and that they could be broken. Once, a Gentlehuman wandered into our midst. We treated her, nurtured her and thought her what we knew. We took her back to her Gentlefolks, so that she could be happy, with people that were her own. We continued to frolick around the moss ridden trees and spread our words. One day, a Gentlehuman passed by and told us of the news. Told us about the Gentlehuman who had broken the Spelling-Pronouncing Continuum. Told us about how she came up with the word that defied thousands of years of compliance. Told us about how, with a word, she established the supremacy of the Gentlehumans over the Spoken Word. The rest is history. The Gentlehumans became the masters, while my kind was slowly written off all their works, till nobody remembered the one with the Name that defied the Babelians.
What is my name, you ask? Why, it is nothing but Jojoba.