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The Ketchup In Worcester
by Dom Macchiaroli

May God bless the English people, their leaders, and neighbors. Anyone who has visited that great country can’t help but come away with an affinity for the place. We have visited three times, and as I told a friend recently, I would go back in an instant if our currency exchange rate weren’t so awful. It is a captivating and wonderful country, aside from the food they serve, which tastes like shredded cardboard soaked in dank soap water with a side helping of Winston Churchill’s dog. And you have to pay for the ketchup to wash it all down. Nevertheless, we love the joint.

England has been hard hit by the world economic recession as bad as anyone. With an election approaching in 2010, and other attempts at stabilization, hopefully the nation will get back on its feet so it can start picking on Scotland and Argentina again. But not all of what ails England and the greater British Isles is monetary in character. The English have absorbed a huge change of identity in the world, have coped very gracefully with the loss of empire, and gave the world Herman’s Hermits, Peter Sellers, and the absolutely hilarious Christopher Hitchens.

The problem as I see it with England is an over-abundance of and national addiction to syllables. The English have an overwhelming need to fill their words up with unnecessary and silent letters. This is particularly true in the case of Prince Charles, who never makes sense in any language. But it is a small problem they’ve had since Chaucer wrote about those pesky and irritating pilgrims at Canterbury. We have to hope the issue doesn’t spill over onto America. I fear that it already has, closer to home.

My wife keeps a large bottle of Worcestershire sauce in the refrigerator for those odd moments when I barbeque or in case she needs something cold and hard to hit me with on a moment’s notice. But when she tries to pronounce the word, it sounds like “War-chested-Ted’s-shore.” Having heard it said this way many times before, the children now run screaming from the house whilst covering their ears when the proper noun leaves her mouth. I have asked her to please just call it the, ‘brown sauce we cook with’, and leave it at that. But it is a hard word to say, and we only speak English after all. Incidentally the correct way to say Worcestershire is “worst-sitter-for-sure.”

Another problem name is “Leicestershire” which should properly be pronounced “Lester-sure” but instead sounds like “Lee-and-Chester-stir-the-fire.” There are many other examples, but I have to go earn a living now.

England will get its act together soon. They need to fix their economy and fix their words. Then maybe their currency will devalue a little against the dollar and we will be able to go back and visit. And maybe the ketchup will be free in Worcester.