December 15, 2021

I learned my Greek alphabet around the same time that I learned my English one. Oddly, I always stumble at “Tau” (pronounced taff); somehow Phi, Chi, Psi and Omega didn’t cement themselves the way the other 20 letters did. Between fraternities, highways and a major airline, I rarely associate Delta with the Greek alphabet. Alpha, too has been claimed by dogs, films about dogs, startups, cable companies etc… But omicron –– that’s a word that I’ve only ever known as, “little o” in the Greek alphabet. Today, sweet little omicron –– a perfect oval –– is at the centre of millions of conversations among government officials, public health experts, scientists, doctors, teachers, parents, and lineups of ambivalent people arriving in droves to get last minute boosters before the holidays. Sweet little omicron, that now sounds like the name of a scary robot, that has sent many a sane human into an irrational frenzy. One day you’ll be ‘little o’ again, a sweet and insignificant letter in an alphabet that dates back a few thousand years.


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