A strange and mysterious script has been discovered on white boards and documents throughout this house. So far, the cryptic writing has not been deciphered. However, yesterday I received a clue as to its origins. In fact, I witnessed a shadowy character actually writing in what I now have cause to believe may be a metamorphosed dialect of Orkin, my children’s invented private language. Figure 1 (see above) is my subsequent secret photograph of the writing in question.
If you have ever lived in a country covered in Arabic graffiti, you might initially come to the same conclusion I did: Orkin must be a derivative of Arabic. (Disregard the large lettering of “SUN,” which consists not in Russian characters, but only slightly dyslexic English, meant to throw us off the scent.) However, here the intrinsic subtlety of the Orkin mind comes into play. Phonologically, Orkin still sounds much as it did when we lived in northern Italy. Not so much as an asphyxiating Arabic consonant or a nasal French vowel has invaded its pure Italian tones. It appears that the devious originators of this enigmatic tongue have simply emulated the Persians and Turks, adapting the Arabic characters to fit their own unrelated language.
But here’s the cleverest part: the subject I witnessed writing in Orkin (my six-year-old daughter Axa, to be exact) was writing the Arabic script backwards, from left to right. Try writing a normal sentence beginning with the last letter and ending with the first, and you’ll understand how mind-boggling this looked to me, who can’t even write Arabic very quickly forwards, let alone backwards. However, it only makes sense. I taught her to write in English, and I don’t know that she’s ever seen someone up close writing in Arabic. The only shame is that she’s a lefty, so writing right to left would be a perfect fit for her. I’ve always thought it was too bad that left-handedness is so discouraged in the Arab world. Right to left writing would so beautifully eliminate the bother with ink smudges, strange paper angles, or that way of holding the pen that looks like it hurts.
In fact, upon further examination, this is looking like a nefarious conspiracy against lefties, perpetrated by the unusually united forces of the Arab and Western worlds. In English, where the scriptory cards are heavily stacked against them, lefties are allowed to contort their hands and smear their words by writing left-handed. However, in Arabic, where their left-handedness would be an asset, they are forced to use their right hands to write instead, negating their inherent advantage. Ah, the injustice.
Left-handers of the world, did you know that you have a powerful and under-utilized ally? Barak Obama is one of you! And if you ask me, it’s time he stepped up to the plate and showed that he really deserves that Nobel Peace Prize. If you are a lefty, or have a friend or relative affected by the current worldwide conspiracy of discrimination against lefties, please join me in writing President Obama and calling for him to work with world leaders, the UN, NATO, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, Greenpeace, the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors, and all other international bodies and governments to end the international oppression against lefties, in which all of us are intentionally or unintentionally complicit!
2 thoughts on “The Evolution of Orkin”
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The Turkish language is no longer written in the Arabic alphabet. It has been reformed by Ataturk in the late twenties of the last century. But there are other languages using the Arabic alphabet mainly under the influence of Islam: Urdu, some Turkic populations (Qashqai, kazakh, kyrgyz ..), kurds and now Orkin.
As for the lefties, I think it no longer is considered an handicap. My cousin and my childhood neighbor happen to be both lefties. And nobody tried to “correct” them.