You know how Dee and Vee and Gee and all the other letters rhyme with each other? All that rhyming makes for a good song. You know the one…
A B C D
E F G
H I J K (k doesn’t rhyme, but that’s ok)
Q R S (no rhyme there either)
T U V
W X Y and Z
Good song. Important song. Without that song, we have no alphabet. Well, while listening to The Barenaked Ladies kids album*, it came up that the Canadians pronounce the letter Zee “Zed”. I knew this, of course. I’ve known my share of Canadians. But what did occur to me for the first time is that Zed doesn’t rhyme with Vee or Dee or, well, any of those letters. It rhymes with head and bread, but that’s not super relevant and just distracts from the bigger point which is, those poor Canadian don’t have an alphabet song!
In the dark of night, a Toronto mother crouches by her child’s beds, softly croning to her wee one. A through P come smoothly, LMNOP tumbling out through a half smile. But she starts to slow as she gets to the next couplet** and by the time she gets to T U V the letters are starting to catch in her throat. She knows what’s coming. There’s no turning back now.
” Double-u exe, why, and…”
she takes a deep breath, casting her eyes down.
The letter comes out a whisper, her cheeks flush with shame. She’s betrayed her Canadian heritage, in front of her daughter. All for a letter-based rhyme. Why Zed, she thinks. Why did it have to be Zed.
Why indeed, Canadian mother. Why indeed.
* It’s important to find kids music that allows you to keep your sanity, especially since there’s a good chance you’ll be listening to it on repeat for 8 hours straight on a road trip to florida. For example. And kid appropriate is definitely key. We decided to revisit the days of college with Shaggy’s “It wasn’t me” feature Rikrok. It seemed like a good idea until we were reminded that the main lyric features the line “banging butt naked on the bedroom floor.” Really paints a picture, that Shaggy.
** that probably isn’t a couplet. Turns out, I don’t really know what a couplet is.