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December 10, 2007

RH as in Rhymes

Filed under: Bill Bickel, CIDU, comic strips, comics, customer service, humor, Rhymes With Orange — Cidu Bill @ 12:02 am

Am I missing something, or is it the customer being obtuse here, not customer service?


  1. No, I think it’s just the customer being obtuse. Speaking as someone who has people give him numbers and letters over the phone all day, I can tell you that this comic is a stretch, but only a very, very tiny one. People come up with the stupidest words when they’re trying to think them up on the fly to give a string of numbers phonetically.

    As far as I’m concerned, everyone should be forced to learn the radio alphabet.

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — December 10, 2007 @ 12:34 am

  2. There is an old comedy routine that I once heard (maybe from the 1960’s ) where someone calls the operator asking for the phone number of a “George Kaplan”.

    The operator, when confirming the spelling repeats back something like,

    “That is Kaplan, George Kaplan. That is K as in Knight, A as in Aardvark, P as in Pneumonia, L as in Llama, A as in Aardvark again, N as in Newelpost?”

    Comment by Pinny — December 10, 2007 @ 1:47 am

  3. I’m thinking that the one he is talking to is being just as obtuse. After all, if you know how to spell, “p” as in “psychology” shouldn’t be a problem.

    I interpreted this joke as a comment on today’s dumbed-down world and/or failing school system.

    Comment by Keera — December 10, 2007 @ 1:48 am

  4. The joke here, I suspect, is that the first letter of each of the words given is silent.

    My favorite bit about giving letters to help spelling is by Mike Birbiglia, who said he wants to change his last name to “Boy,” so when someone asks him to spell his name, he can say, “It’s ‘B’ as in ‘boy’, and then the rest of the word ‘boy.'”

    Comment by arik1969 — December 10, 2007 @ 3:07 am

  5. Not only are the first letters silent, but the first two words he gave are completely different words than the phonetic examples he gave (“night” and “new”)

    Comment by Rasheed — December 10, 2007 @ 6:25 am

  6. I dunno, I get the joke, but I’m not sure I’d even flinch if I were told “K as in Knight”. It’s not like “K” sounds anything like “N”.

    Now, if it was “M as in Mnemonic”, that’d be a different story, and I could see how someone could mishear.

    Comment by Powers — December 10, 2007 @ 7:04 am

  7. I know someone in another online community who’s screen nameis Ghoti. It’s pronounced “fish.” “Gh” as in enough, “o” as in women and “ti” as in nation. Fish.

    Comment by Molly — December 10, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  8. In Jonathan Katz’ podcast “Hey, we’re back”, he makes crank calls to phone directories. I forget the name he used recently, but he counted it off like this: Looking for Ray Tomlinson. T as in Tomlinson, O as in omlinson, M as in mlinson, L as in linson, I as in inson…and so on. I’d never heard that one before.

    Comment by Luke D — December 10, 2007 @ 9:38 am

  9. Pinny: That’s from a Mike Nichols & Elaine May routine.

    Comment by Jon88 — December 10, 2007 @ 11:28 am

  10. Then there’s the Cockney Alphabet: A for orses, B for mutton, C for miles etc.

    Comment by Mark — December 10, 2007 @ 4:46 pm

  11. Powers: There used to be a kids show in Canada that would give its postal code (in Canada its a combination of letters and numbers) as “M as in mnemonic….”

    Molly: there’s a band named “Ghoti Hook” as in “fish hook”, although they like to be difficult and pronounce it “goatee”.

    Comment by eeyore19 — December 10, 2007 @ 6:35 pm

  12. There are at least as many Customer Service jokes about obtuse customers as there are about bad service. I’ve been on both sides – and they’re both true.

    And I know the Radio Alphabet, but it’s hard to rattle it off for odd words. My name, yes, but a confirmation number would have a lot of long pauses in it…

    Comment by jjmcgaffey — December 10, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  13. My wife is a teacher and when she goes over the multiple-choice questions, she’ll use “A as in apple,” “B as in bugger,” “C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me,” and “D as in ‘duh!'”

    Comment by Eric — December 11, 2007 @ 9:14 am

  14. Eric, I’ll assume your wife doesn’t teach in England or Australia.

    Comment by Powers — December 12, 2007 @ 7:08 am

  15. re Mark’s comment (#10)- I get the first one, A is for orses (hay is for horses) but the next two truly mystify me. I’ve been looking at them for a couple of days now, thinking that it’d eventually be obvious, but no, that hasn’t been the case.

    Comment by Lola — December 12, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  16. re:15’s question about #10:

    Read the whole thing out loud:

    Hay for horses, beef or mutton, see for miles. . .

    Comment by Ian Osmond — December 12, 2007 @ 11:42 am

  17. You see! So obvious. My IQ seems to be diminishing at least a point or two for every year I age. Thanks Ian.

    Comment by Lola — December 12, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

  18. Some of my faves…

    E for PerĂ³n
    F for Vescence
    I for an eye
    L for Leather
    M for Sis

    Comment by Pete — December 13, 2007 @ 9:37 am

  19. In response to #15:

    I believe the second is meant to sound like “Before mutton”, probably part of some once-famous phrase. The third I understood pretty quickly, but not on the first try. It’s a simple homonym, “See for miles”.

    Comment by bAT L. — December 16, 2007 @ 1:24 am

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