The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 2, 2012

Mike Pound: Dogs cannot hear a silent ‘H’

By Mike Pound

— My wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, have informed me that I have been spelling our German shepherd’s name wrong.

Well, actually, my wife and Emma informed me, long ago, that I have been spelling our German shepherd’s name wrong. Our German shepherd’s name is Shilo, but my wife and Emma tell me that “Shilo” should actually be spelled S-H-I-L-O-H.

Emma is of the opinion that, because we named Shilo, in part, after the dog in the award-winning children’s book titled “Shiloh” that is why I should spell Shilo’s name Shiloh.

Emma has a point. We did name Shilo in part after the book. Emma was reading “Shiloh” when we got Shilo at the Joplin Humane Society. By the way, if you are ever in the market for a dog, please consider adopting a dog from your local Humane Society. You’ll be glad you did.

For some reason, the very first time I mentioned Shilo in this column, I decided that I wanted to 86 the final “H” in Shiloh. The final “H” in Shiloh is silent. I’m uneasy with silent letters. The way I see it, life is too short to waste on silent letters.

That’s one reason I would make a lousy French guy. Well, the first reason I would make a lousy French guy is I don’t — so much — speak French. But the other reason I would make a lousy French guy is because the French have way too many silent letters. I suspect the reason the French make such great wine is because they need to drink to ease the pain of living in a world full of silent letters.

I don’t spell well, never have and likely never will. When I was a kid I used to get mad whenever I came across a word with a silent letter. As far as I was concerned, a silent letter was just another way for me to screw up a spelling test.

And for what? An extra letter that nobody, in a conversation, would ever miss?

I’ve told this story before, but, when I was in fourth grade the word “pound” appeared on a weekly spelling test. My teacher — Mr. Palmer — told me that if I misspelled the word “Pound” he would “kill me.”

Mr. Palmer was not exactly Mr. Chips.

In part, because I enjoyed driving Mr. Palmer crazy and, in part, to show my contempt for silent letters, I added an “E” to the Pound.

Emma and my wife don’t buy my Shilo spelling explanation. Emma and my wife think that I accidentally misspelled Shilo’s name, and that I’m too stubborn to admit what I did.

I do admit that if I did accidentally misspell Shilo’s name, I would be too stubborn to admit what I had done. But I didn’t accidentally misspell Shilo’s name. I purposely misspelled Shilo’s name. Just like I purposely misspelled my name in fourth grade.

Besides, it’s not as if Shilo is upset about all of this. Not once, in all the years that I have been writing about Shilo, has she complained to me about the way I spell her name.

That’s what I like about dogs. They don’t care if you misspell their names.

Shilo has a friend she likes to stop and say “Hi” to on our morning walk. The friend is a sweet, mellow, golden retriever. In the morning, the golden retriever sits in his front yard and waits for Shilo and me to come by. The dog’s owner is a nice guy and told me that his dog’s name is Casey. Well, I think the dog’s name is Casey. His name could be K.C. like my friend Rob’s beagle who lives down the street from us.

But the thing is, Casey doesn’t seem to care that I’m not sure if his name is Casey or K.C., and if he doesn’t care then I don’t think I should either.

Unless his name is K. Cee.

I would hate that.