(In sympathy with Elise, who thinks spelling is worse than torture because it doesn't make any sense at all.)
The apparent perversity of English spelling is occasionally tamed by a simple rule. For example, I remember learning the famous poem:
I before E,
Except after C.
It didn't take too long for this rule to run into trouble, and I next had to learn the "revised" version:
I before E,
Except after C,
Or when sounded like A,
As in "neighbor" and "weigh".
But just when we fancied that spelling had become a science, a prescient foreign geisha woman named Deirdre Oppenheimer came down from the heights of a glacier, tore off her veil, seized an ancient financier, and shamed our consciences grievously. "This society is inefficient!", she inveighed. "I wasted my leisure becoming proficient in cuneiform hieroglyphs. Either reimburse me with the value of the Einstein coefficient, or I will drag this man back to my hacienda in Muncie, wherein he will forfeit his life!"
I feigned interest, but looked for our feisty concierge Neil, whom I might inveigle into reining in this weird being. But he had gone to Anaheim, Beijing, Madeira and Taipei with Alexei to shop for a beige geiger counter. His absenteeism made me feel like queueing for the exit. The only sound was the neighing of the sheik's eight reindeer, chewing their edelweiss.
I turned to Sheila, the Budweiser heiress. "Cease your surveillance of the sleigh and its freight! We must stop the reign of this plebeian atheist!" I must have hit a vein, because she deigned to put down her counterfeit kaleidoscope proficiently, albeit only to point out a weird Klein bottle full of nucleic proteins. "Therein is the skein of meiosis," she said, "the leitmotif of our species, of seismic importance to our homogeneity. It would surfeit a meistersinger, a sovereign, or even an omniscient deity like Poseidon."
Decreeing my obeisance, I offered the paperweight, a Meisterbrau stein, and a Holstein heifer to the heister. Agreeing that it was sufficient, she reinstated the old wisenheimer, fleeing with spontaneity via Boeing to Beirut.
agencies ancient coefficient concierge conscience deficient efficient fancied financier glacier hacienda Lucie Marcie mercies Muncie omniscient policies prescient proficient science society species sufficient tenancies
absenteeism ageism albeit Alexei Alzheimer Anaheim atheist beige being Beijing Beirut Boeing Budweiser caffeine codeine counterfeit cuneiform deign Deirdre edelweiss eider eight Einstein either Fahrenheit feign feint feisty foreign forfeit freight geiger counter geisha heifer height heinous heir heist herein Holstein homogeneity Hygeia inveigh inveigle kaleidoscope Keith Klein Leicester leishmaniasis leisure leitmotif Madeira meiosis monteith neigh Neil neither nonpareil nuclei nucleic obeisance onomatopoeic Oppenheimer plebeian Pleiades poltergeist protein queueing reimburse rein reindeer reinstate reinvent reitbok seismic seize sheik Sheila skein sleigh sovereign surfeit surveillance Taipei their theism veil vein weigh weir weird wisenheimer zein zeitgeist
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