Saturday, January 5, 2019

Letter Mania


When I was in college (Michigan State), our living unit, like most of the others, had a spring dance/formal. But instead of decorating a dining hall, or renting an expensive venue, for a few years we did it one better. A former member of living unit ran a camp in Northern Michigan about 200 miles (3 hours) away. He graciously allowed us free use of the camp for a weekend, but in return we agreed to send a work crew a few weeks before to help get the camp ready for the season (clearing brush, trimming shrubs, general cleaning of the main building, etc.)

On the way home from one of these weekends, we were crammed into a car, probably 6 of us, and decided to play a game to help pass the time. Someone came up with the idea of an alphabet game. One person would say, “I went to the store and I saw a[n]” and then give an adjective and noun beginning with the letter ‘A’. The next person would repeat everything and then add an adjective and noun beginning with the letter ‘B’. This would repeat until the person couldn’t remember all the word pairs that came before or couldn’t come up with a new word pair. Being the competitive college students that we were, no one wanted to lose, so we managed to go all the way through the alphabet.

Since I’m a bit of a word freak myself, the list of what we came up with has stayed with me all these years later (this took place almost 50 years ago). Below is our list, together with a little bit of commentary.

Adorable Aardvark
Brown Bear
Kooky Cat (the first incident of allow sound-alikes and not being too strict on spelling)
Delinquent Dog (definite animal theme going on here so far)
Enormous Elephant
Fastidious Fish
Gouted Goat
Huge Heffalump (as Pooh knows, the heffalump is a real animal!)
Inquisitive Ibex
Jumbo Jet (finally, a non-animal)
Clean Kitchen (since we did sound-alikes for C, why not reverse it for K)
Lamentable Llama
Morose Moose
Nefarious Nodule
Opulent Opossum
Petoskey’s Pavement (Petoskey being the closest small city to where we had been)
Queer Quirk
Redundant Raccoon (what makes this raccoon redundant?)
Sterile Stegosaurus (hate to be the vet for this one!)
Tintinnabulating Tutor
Unforgettable Umbrella (I need one of those)
Voluptuous Vacuum cleaner (still can’t figure out what one would look like!)
Wonderful Wolverine (the town where the camp was located)
eXuberant Xylophone (close, but hard to think of words that start with X)
Yellow Yak
Xenophobic Zebra (ah, here’s that elusive X word, but pronounced like a Z)