If You Like X...

If you like X, you’ll love Y. This isn’t hyperbole; we mean it quite literally: If you’re one of the very many savvy, sophisticated consumers of basic Latin alphabet letters who have found X satisfactory, then we’re confident that you’re just going to go gaga—yaya, even, if that’s a thing—for Y.

Let’s be honest right up front, shan’t we? X was a tough sell. X has a lot going for it visually—multi-axial symmetry!—and even its name is appealing—“ecks”: so bold, so breathy—but as something to spell with... well, X doesn't give us much to use. Xylophone. That's pretty much it, and even that’s something of a bait-and-switch. Too bad hardly anyone speaks or writes of xerography or xenophobia anymore. Yet X overcame its limitations, burrowing under our defenses and resurfacing where it, itself, marked the spot in our hearts. With companion, counterpart Os, Xs have entertained—and hugged and kissed—us for centuries. X has adorned innumerable dotted lines for as long as men have been illiterate and/or lazy. X is not just 10; X is fun for all ages.

But Y... Well, that’s a question you won’t be asking for long. The appeal of Y—the next thing, X’s established successor—is obvious: You begin with Y. You aren’t you without it. You want to get to Yes? Then you must have Y. Sure, Y might look like an X less a lower limb... but don’t mistake Y’s stature. While Y raises its arms to the Heavens, its feet are planted firmly on the ground, together. At the end of the day, there’s Y. Or, rather, there’s y. For, you see, Y comes in majuscule and miniscule forms—or, as you might think of them, upper- and lowercase! In either case, Y/y is sure to please.

Indeed, y is a most playful letter, with its adorable descender extending mischievously below the baseline. And of course Y, usually a consonant, plays at being a vowel sometimes. The rascal! Did you know that the oldest direct ancestor of the modern-day Y is the Semitic letter waw? Y has come from waw... to WOW! And here’s another fun tidbit: When printing was introduced to Great Britain, printers used Y in place of a letter called “Thorn”—because Europe didn’t have that letter on the mainland. So these days, if you’re going to open an Olde Shoppe, you’ve got to open it with a Ye. “Ye” is the key, and Y is the bow of that key, the part left protruding from the lock so that torque can be applied!

Sturdy... frisky... versat— er, polytropic. That’s Y.

But wait: There’s more! Act now, and we’ll throw in Z! Because, to be completely frank, we had way too many Zs made and now they’re just taking up room.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.