Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Every time I’ve had to spell something over the phone using words to clarify each letter, I’ve failed miserably. Not at the spelling part, mind you — at the clarification part. I never learned the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or any other useful and easily memorizable way of doing things, so I always panic and make up the weirdest words on the spot. Here are some actual examples that I recall having used, much to the amusement and/or confusion of the person on the other end of the line:

A as in Alfred (always used in conjunction with H, below)
B as in Bat (because NOTHING else sounds like “bat”, right? Totally safe choice)
C as in chlamydia (I kid you not, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. I think I’d just watched a CSI rerun or something.); also C as in clavicle
D as in Delphi; D as in dingo
E as in Euclid (total failure — of COURSE they put a U when I did this. Also, who the foxtrot remembers geometry names and also works at a call center?)
F as in frog
G as in gorilla (sensing a theme); also G as in guano (see B, above)
H as in Hitchcock (see A)
I as in Iggy Pop (and I don’t even listen to his music)
N as in Nigeria
R as in roulette; R as in red (another smashingly clear choice)
U as in Uganda
X as in xylophone
Z as in Zimbabwe

…and so on and so forth. So the other day, when a post-ROTC coworker of mine exclaimed “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!” over something on my computer screen, I immediately hijacked him from his actual work and made him teach me the entire NATO alphabet thingy and force me to repeat it back to him until I had it down pat. So now I’m theoretically able to communicate the spelling of awkward names much more easily (except for ones containing the letter K — I always forget that one, because “kilo” is NOT A WHOLE WORD, people! Sheesh!).

Never been prouder. Victor Alpha out.

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