Sunday, January 15, 2006

Zzzzzzzzz

The English language doesn't make a lot of use of the letter Z. The whole Z section of my Merriam-Webster's 1459-page Collegiate Dictionary is 4 pages. Zs in the middle of words aren't common, either, but they seem to follow a pretty predictable pattern of pronunciation; consider: puzzle, muzzle, guzzle, nuzzle, fuzzy-wuzzy wuzza bear, buzzer, defuzzer. So if a shopping mall offers "Kiddee Kruzzers" for the kids to ride, how WOULD you pronounce that?

Someone I was with—perhaps My Sister(tm)(*)— suggested that they meant it to be pronounced as cruiser...kroozer...like that. My belief is that some nonnative-English speaker came up with the phrase and the executives in charge laughed so hard about Kiddie Kruzzers (not Kroozers, mind you) that their resistance to common sense was overruled. Or perhaps they're meant to be Kruzzers, not Kroozers. After all, they spelled it to be Kruzzers, not Kroozers, and one has to give some credit for intelligence to someone who had the creativity to come up with little red car-shaped doohickeys for kids to be pushed around in in shopping malls. Right.

I always fantasize about going down to the mall office and asking what a Kruzzer is, and arguing ingenuously that I don't want a Kroozer, I want a Kruzzer and can they explain what one is.

But I probably never will.

* (My Sister (tm)--this phrase gives me a lot of leeway in blaming things on someone other than myself, but no one can become particularly steamed because it can apply to so many people, so I can argue ingenuously that I wasn't referring to her but rather some other sister.)

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