When I get bored I often think about the alphabet. Why are there only 26 letters? Or why are there as many as 26? Who decided? When? Other languages have many more letters. Or less.

I rarely bother looking into this. If I did I’d find answers. And then what would I do when I was bored? I can’t turn to numbers. They just go and on. I guess the only interesting thing I could ponder in terms of numbers is why they come in the order they do. I know a 5 has to come after a 4, but that’s because… well… a 5 represents 5. If a 5 were to represent the number 3, say, then what? But that’s not really worth thinking about for too long.

Letters though, they’re different. I can spend time wondering why 26. Why they come in the order they do. And why do they have the shapes they have. Who decided an ‘A’ should look like ‘A’? After all, if it looked like this- B- and we were all told that B was the first letter of the alphabet and it sounded like this (I can’t make a sound on this computer, but imagine the sound our current A makes), well, we’d all accept it wouldn’t we, and with that one minor change this sentence would read “Bfter bll, if it looked like this- B- bnd we were bll told thbt B wbs the first letter of the blphbet bnd it sounded like this (I cbn’t mbke b sound on this computer, but imbgine the sound our current B mbkes, well, we’d bll bccept it wouldn’t we, bnd with thbt one minor chbnge this sentence of this post would rebd…” Oh, I’ve found myself in a trap. Trbp. And I haven’t thought about the B that already existed. Perhaps we should change all the letters round.

Now I know this much; there used to be a 27th letter of the alphabet. It was the ampersand; it was &. And it came after the Z. Then, at some point, I don’t know when; I’m not going to research this; it went. It remains of course, but it’s not in the alphabet. What a thing! To be sacked from the alphabet! 26 members. That’s an exclusive club.

I propose we bring in a proper new member. A new 27th letter of the alphabet. To be used in words and sounds that haven’t been invented yet.

This would be an exciting event. It would have to not only look like nothing we’ve ever seen before, but it would also have to have a new sound. What would it sound like? What would it look like? When would it be unveiled? Who’d be the first person to ever say it? What new words would we use it in? Where would it go? At the beginning? The end? Somewhere else?

iPhone repair men

October 8, 2010

I can’t recommend this. It’s not a good idea. It will test friendships. It will take hours. You’re bound to make mistakes. You’re bound to repair your iPhone and then find, once put back together, that you’ve left something inside; a small speck there on the screen; worse; a fly, a crisp, a cat hair, a cat.

And, it surely goes without saying, it invalidates your warranty.

Still, if your iPhone has some barely noticeable scratches on it, why not go mad. Why not buy a new iPhone screen from a non-Apple approved internet company who assures you it is a doddle; something a monkey could do.

All you have to do is follow the instructions on their website. That’s all.

* Tip: The instructions go by page by page. look at them all before you start. Don’t do the first four pages, have your iPhone in bits, then turn to page 5 and look at a diagram and instructions that make you weep.

*Tip: Just don’t it.

It wasn’t my iPhone. I can’t afford one of those! I have something that looks like an iPhone and that’s as close as it gets.

It was my friend’s. I can’t reveal his name of course. iPhone might track him down and kill him. He’s a top comedian that’s all I can say. And no, he isn’t Stephen Fry. Firstly, he’d know what he was doing. Secondly, I don’t know him. To make it easy, to give him a name that can’t cause any problems, let’s call him Lenny. Lenny Bruce. Yes, it was Lenny Bruce’s iPhone and whilst trying to repair it he kept yelling obscure New York slangy swear words.

So I go to see Lenny for an evening of fun, drink, chat, food. His wife is out and he says “Hey, masked man (!), you wanna see something neat?”

I’m guessing this is how he talks (remember, he’s not really Lenny, or from New York, he’s just my mate, the famous stand-up comedian “Lenny Bruce”). He goes on to open a sweet little cardoboard box that has in it a new iPhone screen and a load of tools, including a screwdriver so small a mouse would have difficulty picking it up.

“Yeah, waddaya know! Goddammit! I puts my iPhone in my pocket and jeez, I only go do get some piece of sandpaper in there! It scratches my iPhone screen like a cool cat scratching at a hobo’s asshole!”

Now, to me, the screen doesn’t look to bad. But Lenny, he’s a stickler. He’s not having it. He’s a perfectionist. Just listen to his routines, you can tell nothing’s left to chance. He wants a new screen, and he’s bought the kit, and we’re going to do it.

Look, I can’t be bothered carrying on with the New York lingo. I can’t go through this step by step. Heck, you don’t want to know all the gory details. You don’t need to hear about the heat gun, the hair dryer, the tweezers, the razor blades. Let’s just race on.

Three hours later. We’ve done it. Of course, when we reach the end of the instructions, when we have the screen off and the new one must go on, it just tells us to follow the instructions in reverse! This is hell.

Instead, we find a video on YouTube of two guys doing the same thing. In five parts. 10 minutes a section. Thank you guys, ’cause you got us through it.

I joke wouldn’t it be funny if by accident we had put the scratched screen back on by mistake.

We didn’t. We got it right. Lenny switches on the phone which, amazingly, works. Then; “Fuckin’ holy cocksucker mother of God!” This is the worst blaspheming I’ve ever heard out of the mouth of Lenny. this, in his day, would have seen him banged up in seconds.

There’s only some little black thing wedged between the new glass and the thingy screen (plasma? LCD? I don’t know).

I tell Lenny to relax. We know what we’re doing now. We can take it apart, clean it, put it back together, in minutes.

It takes us another hour. But we get it done.

Thank you, masked man.

"Lenny's" hands