by David Storck

"Not lonely and lowly like, say, U."


I is generally considered to be the most popular letter of the alphabet, beating out even A. Standing tall and sleek, I possesses a commanding simplicity. Think of its power: by itself, it represents us. I. Solitary, unwavering. Perhaps only F brings to mind a more ready image, but one that is fraught with negative connotations. For some.

Yes, I. Even in its lowercase form it is accorded the respect of an accompanying dot. For the king of the alphabet, it is a crown. Sitting beside his queen, j, I is resplendent in his dot, content that he possesses all the adulation and deference that the world might confer upon a letter.

But how shall we measure popularity? Sheer usage? What makes a letter? Q and Z, while not often used, are fun and we cherish them as rare rather than unpopular. People almost wish they had more occasions to use Q and Z. That's popular. Not lonely and lowly like, say, U. U. Useless. Ugly. Unpopular. Unloved, uncola, uneverything. Ugh. Its most memorable quality is playing Igor to Q's mad scientist, clumsily bringing to life such monsters as quagmire, cumquat and quixotic. Is it any wonder Quasimodo is so named?

Consider the plight of other also rans and lesser knowns. How often must K surrender its power in silence to the mighty N? Why must P and H combine to compete with F? And what of the endless toiling in obscurity of S? Quietly serving the needs of the whole by taking responsibility for nearly all plural words. Of all the thankless jobs. And how many times is it upstaged by the apostrophe, enclosed in parentheses, or otherwise diminished? And finally, to have its very heart stolen, slashed and embraced by man as, argh, $. Stolen thunder, my friends, stolen thunder.

Let's see, who else? X? Well, you must take the good with the bad, I'm afraid. W? That's too easy.

Ah yes, how lovely it is to be popular. Why else would n and g tag along with I so often?

Of course, we all have our favorites. The Irish have long favored O. And the Poles almost never use vowels. All the better for the Italians, I suppose.

But let me bring to your attention the up and comer, the fast rising new superstar of the alphabet: E. Yes, E.



Oh sure, E has never lacked for attention. As a member of that exclusive club, The Vowels, E has always had a certain stature and popularity. There was the day he had a vitamin named for him. Einstein made him famous. He's on our money. And yet, he's never been able to rise above I without the accompanying muscle of C. E has always been the vice president (to mix political metaphors) of the alphabet hierarchy. But now it appears as if I's reign may be coming to an end. I submit to you that we are entering the age of E.

Along with his cousin, @, E is skyrocketing to fame and fortune, the letter of the 21st century, of, oh dear god, the third millenium.

Everywhere you look, E is there. And oddly, it is in his lowercase guise that he's getting most of the attention. ecommerce, Ebusiness, Etrade, Email, Emessaging, EBay. Egads! How E-centric we have become in such a short time. Consider Email. Only the great communicator, television, can rival the ferocious power of email. For with email, each of us has the ability to control content and reach beyond the boundaries of television, crossing borders without passports, circumventing countless government regulations (Let the FCC try to contain email!), and best of all, shrinking the influence of that behemoth of bureaucracy: the postal service. email. Could it be as mighty were it known as hmail? omail? mmail?!!

Yes friends, we are living in the age of E. And I knows it. His desperate attempt through Apple Computers to land a chunk of the new cyberalphabet gold rush is all telling. How I must seethe knowing that this very piece is being written on a grape iMac. In a way, he has become a tool of his own destruction. Ah, the "I"rony.



"...he's got his own cable channel."

My advice to you, I, is to gracefully surrender your title and move on to the status of dignified elder statesman. Trying to frantically cling to your title diminishes your legacy. Do you think Dan Marino wants to be remembered for his 5-interception performance last Thanksgiving? Look how well a dignified retreat worked for Nixon. Nixon, for god's sake.

It's time to face the music, I. It's an Eworld now. You can't compete. Turn on your television. E! For crying out loud, he's got his own cable channel. Come on. Even with the annoying Steve Kmetko and the (talk about overstaying your welcome) nauseating Joan Rivers, E! is even stronger than its predecessor, ET. Say, I, what if you tried a cable channel? i! What the hell is that? i! It looks like a Spanish sentence without words.



My friends, we have come to the End. How long will E rule? Will there be a generation of children who grow up thinking that an Ewok is something used to cook Estirfry? Will they carelessly dot their I's unknowing of the symbolic coronation it once stood for? Who knows. I can only lay down my head and contemplate the future. Zzzzzzzzzzz...


please email ducts with your comments.



*Dave had some trouble deciding on a title for this piece, so we've listed all his ideas here. Choose your favorite!

Alphabetical Order
Long Live I
Editor to the Letters
E, I, E, I -- Oh!
Regarding the Nature of Letters
Of Cyberspace and the Nature of Letters
Wh r Would W B Without ?
If Elemenno Had a Lobby...
Mein Alphabet
Eat Shit, You Asswiping Motherfuckers
Fuck You, William Safire
David Storck's Desperate Cry for Attention
Wheel of Fortune is Just Hangman!
Click Here for Nude Photos of Amy Poehler
Read This Or I'll Kill You
Three Monkeys At Three Typewriters Wrote This
Penis Has Both an I and an E