Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just One More Thing to Thank Carl Barks For!



There are SO MANY THINGS we should thank Carl Barks for! Here’s one that’s uniquely personal.

Quick, what month is this?

Why, it’s “FEB-YEW-WERRY”, of course! The month after “JAN-YEW-WERRY”!

At least, that’s I used to pronounce ‘em, as a young-un, having been born in good old Brooklyn, NY! Even today, with Brooklyn way back in my “reah-view mirrah”, I might still lapse into that pronunciation of the second month of the calendar year.

Given this, my early grade-school mind figured, if the first month was spelled “JANUARY”, the following month should be spelled “FEBUARY”. Clearly, I was incorrect, and needed to somehow memorize the correct spelling of “FEBRUARY”. But how?

Enter Carl Barks, and his amazing Donald Duck adventure tale “Secret of Hondorica” – originally published in DONALD DUCK # 46 (1956), but first discovered by me in its reprint DONALD DUCK # 98, released in September, 1964.

Let’s pick up the words of one of Donald’s nephews, as he interprets some stone markings of a native culture that has captured their (momentarily unlucky) cousin Gladstone Gander:

Their picture writing says that he is BRU, their Spirit of Deeds! He flew down with those strange wings long ago and captured CHU, their God of Good Eating”!

Let’s set aside any thoughts of political correctness for the moment, as we’re discussing a work of mid-fifties fiction, and consider that often the key to correct spelling, recitation, or the like is in having a good mnemonic.

In a revelation you’ll find only here, folks, Carl Barks’ spirit “BRU” was my key to the correct spelling of “FeBRUary”… and remains so to this day, as I found myself employing that very device as I typed out the word “February” during the course of my workday!

Yes, as a longtime reader and fan – and now as a part-time freelance comics professional – I have much to thank Carl Barks for. Correctly spelling the word “February” is just one more thing!

PS: I’ve just turned in a dialogue script to a lengthy sequel / tribute to one of Carl Barks’ most famous Donald Duck adventures. (More on this as it becomes official.) The fact that I can even write this sentence is “just one more thing I can thank Carl Barks for”. I hope I’ve done him proud.

1 comment:

Chris Barat said...

Joe,

Now, if I could only find a Barks story that would teach students...

(1) to write "were" instead of "where"
(2) to write "than" instead of "than"

Chris