Well, we have zigged, and zagged our way to the bottom of the alphabet. It all comes down to Ground Zero, at zero hour, in zero gravity, with zero thought, to write the final composition for the letter
a letter that the Dutch explorers, traders and colonists already present, especially around the area that would become New York City, taught the newly arriving English settlers of America to pronounce as ‘zee’, a mere 400 years ago. Think ‘Zuider Zee.’ The rest of the English-speaking world uses the Froggy French pronunciation, ‘zed’, imposed by the Norman invaders of England, almost a millennium ago.
For all you hockey nuts (and you have to be nuts to regard hockey as anything more than mildly interesting time-wasting), I thought that I would write about Zamboni. That’s the ice-resurfacing machine that drives around the skating surface between periods.
Then I thought better of it, and decided to give you a little more local history/geography/commerce. About 15 miles north of where I live, up in Pennsylvania-Dutch, Mennonite territory, is the large town/small city (10,000) of Elmira, Ontario.
Twenty-five years ago, the Schlupp family (doesn’t that name sound Mennonite?) reverse-engineered the Zamboni, and began producing Olympia machines at a company called Resurfice. There are various sizes, and gasoline and electric models. They will do what the Zamboni will do, at a better price – and they are Canadian-made.
They’ve had to fight the ‘Kleenex viewpoint’, which says that every facial tissue is ‘Kleenex’, even when it’s Puffs, or Royale, but their sales are steady, and increasing, even in the US. Despite the Zamboni brand-name recognition, and allowing for some bragging, Resurfice sells 50% to 70% of machines in North America.
The ‘Kleenex viewpoint’ is visible in an online court brief, apparently posted by a relative of an idiot complainant trying to sue poor Resurfice.
→ Hanke was the operator of an zamboni
→ Overfilled the gas tank of the machine, releasing vapourized gas which was ignited by an overhead heather
→ The ensuing explosion and fire caused Hanke to be badly burned
→ Hanke sued the zamboni maker for negligence (design defect), arguing that the gas and water tanks were similar in appearance and close together on the machine, making it easy to confuse the two.
English rules of construction insist on the word ‘a’ before another word beginning with a consonant. It should be ‘a Zamboni,’ with a capital Z – except, it wasn’t a ‘Zamboni’, it was a Resurfice Olympia. The genius operator pumped water into the gasoline tank in an area with open flame. His genius brother (cousin?) writes, in a court brief, of an ‘overhead heather’, and repeats the incorrect, uncapitalized ‘zamboni’ again.
If I have poked fun at places like Newfoundland, or Alabama, I humbly apologise, and acknowledge the existence of local possessors of ‘a glorious lack of sophistication.’
I thank all of you who have followed me through the alphabet. I’m trying to decide if it’s worthwhile or possible to do it again this/next year. This free-style, pick-and-choose method didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. Perhaps next time I could do a themed version, possibly A to Z wild life, from Ants to Zebras. Wild life could include C for College dorm parties. Or A to Z in musical groups, from AC/DC to ZZ Top. In the meantime, I’m going to take a copy of that ‘Survivor’ image, and go have (another) nap. I suggest you all do the same. We’ve all earned some ZZZZZZs. 😀