49. Phi Beta Delta: Our Last Name

The sound of D, according to language mavens, is learned very early in infancy. Possibly it is the first letter sound that we acquire. Some people feel it started life as a fish and over centuries began to look as it looks now. The shape possibly suggests how the delta of a river looks, but linguists are unsure if that is a true explanation.

In any event, D is one of those letters that has been with us for a long, long time. There is a rock face at Serabit el-Khadem in Sinai, from about 1750 BC, and there is D, admittedly looking like a fish. It has been a good companion and if not a fish that could sacrifice physical hunger, has been a helpmate in satisfying intellectual hunger. Occasionally it has had some excitement, as with Delta Force. There is a celebrated if risque novel by Anais Nin, Delta of Venus. But in general D has been a solid citizen.

PBD has a proud history to its initials. The scribes enjoyed the P, the philosophers mused about B, and D is a good solid letter, just as we hope we are a good and solid society. A huzzah for our initials, a time capsule that takes us back to ancient Greece, and even further back, way back, to the very start of letters.

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