How slow on the pickup do you have to be to not understand that consonants often get lost in the shuffle on a cell-phone call, and that phonetic spellings are a natural remedy when you’re conveying a name or proper noun with a few “e”-sounds? What kind of a gorilla brain doesn’t realize that “t” sounds like “d”,”e”, “p”, “b”,”g” and even “v” or “c” if your English is compromised by a heavy Asian or Latin accent? Every time I tell someone my email address I always say “g as in George, r as in robert, u as in uncle, v as in victor,” etc. Maybe they don’t need to hear the phonetic but it can’t hurt. How many times during the tens of thousands of cellular calls I’ve made over the last 25 or so years has a caller offered a phonetic spelling? Less than 20 or 25 times, I would say, or once a year. I almost always have to say “would you please spell that phonetically?” They never offer this — the concept of “e” letters sounding all but interchangeable has never penetrated their membrane.

I think there’s an analogy between this and that Perez Hilton riff about how a fair number of people believe or presume that The Martian is based on a real-life occurrence. This is not satire — Hilton posted the tweets.