project 365

29. Salmon.

For 17 years, I had no idea how to pronounce the word “salmon.”

Reasons I have determined are partially to blame:

• Because Hooked on Phonics encouraged me to sound words out
• Because English is not my mother’s first language
• Because no one ever corrected me
• Because I possibly never had a reason to say the word to anyone for 17 years

I still vividly remember my moment of clarity. It was at this weekly after school program I used to go to at the Las Vegas Review-Journal that was designed to introduce high school journalism students to the professional world.

In the middle of one of our meetings, I mentioned the color of the handout. There was an awkward pause. Silence.

Friend Leah then said, for all to hear, “Do you mean SA-MON?”

It’s been eight or nine years since this happened, and I still remember just how mortified I was. It wasn’t the first time I’d realized I’d been saying something incorrectly for a while, but this one stung. I’m probably still a bit embarrassed.

Anyway, I bring this up because salmon has been an ongoing topic in my life as of late. I discussed salmon at the bar the other night (like, after midnight the other night). I found a book on salmon policy that I’ve vowed to read to better understand the issue. I’ve started tracking three different lawsuits related to hatchery salmon vs. wild salmon. I’ll probably buy salmon over the weekend.

I guess it’s a good thing that Leah corrected me all those years ago.

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