There are a hundred, perhaps even a thousand, reasons why you have recently settled here in this small village by the mountains. Although at this moment I personally can only think of two:
1) You are in the Army.
2) You have insomnia, and as a last-ditch treatment plan your doctor has sent you here to sit through a few of our City Council meetings. (Positive note: A typical council meeting provides a 97 percent cure rate. I once sat through a re-zoning hearing and then slept for 156 hours.)
But the point is, you're new here and you have a lot of questions, starting, of course, with the big one: Why in the name of Speedy Gonzalez do we refer to the nearby town of Pueblo — which means "people" or "village" and has been correctly pronounced PWEB-lo for oh, about 1,500 years — by the names pee-A-blo or the even more common PWEE-blo?
The answer: Because we are idiots.
As proof, each year swarms of locals in hiking boots stumble their way up the boulder-strewn face of Pikes Peak, arriving at the summit panting, bleeding, drenched in sweat or suffering from hypothermia — all the while knowing that about 20 feet away there's a perfectly good goddamn road to the top and when they get there they'll be greeted by lots of old people from Kansas who will be smiling at them, leaning on their 1987 Buick Skylark automobiles and smoking cigarettes.
Anyway, in an attempt to help you fit into our community, we'll now teach you how to close your eyes, slap your forehead, wave your hands vigorously over your head, chant "Ooohhh Jesus Save Me!!" and deposit $1,000 in the collection box so your "preacher" can buy a new mansion.
No, really, what we will do is give you a pronunciation guide to local streets, people and places.
State Sen. Dave Schultheis. Pronounced DAY-v. Despite his making national headlines this year for "hoping" that babies be born with AIDS in order to teach their mothers a lesson about "promiscuity," no one knows how to pronounce his last name. It combines the German words schul ("what") and theis ("a dumb shit.")
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. Pronounced mah-KEE-ta, it means "one who threatens to let all the inmates out at the slightest mention of a budget cut."
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Mars. The name is pronounced as it appears and also answers the question of what you get when sheep mate. Set a congressional record in 2008 by sending out 456 billion pamphlets about himself that no one wanted.
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-HatesMexicans. Pronounced tan-CREE-do, a name meaning "If God wanted Hispanics in our country, why did he make barbed wire?"
Tejon Street. A main north-south thoroughfare we like to pronounce as TAY-hone or TEE-hone or TAY-john or TEE-john. It means, literally, the bathroom or "the john." Because of its name, public urination is allowed on this street Fridays and Saturdays — right after the 500 bars close down and the 20,000 drunks come lurching out.
Cucharras Street, pronounced coo-CHAR-ass. It means a spoon or ladle, but also means "one who got too close to the grill."
Cache la Poudre Street. Pronounced cash-la-POODER, it means "catch the poodle."
Acacia. A downtown spot that should be pronounced a-CAY-see-ah, the genus of shrubs and trees the park was named for. We, of course, pronounce it differently, going with a-CAY-shuh. We do, however, use the correct pronunciation of the people who frequent the park: "bums" and "stoners from Palmer High School."
America the Beautiful Park. Pronounced enormous waste of money. Despite the clever suggested nickname of "A the B Park" by City Councilor Margaret Radford, the park never really caught on among the villagers. Nestled in a tranquil spot alongside a freeway and beneath the smokestacks of a coal-burning power plant, it registers less activity than George W. Bush's electroencephalograph.
Although there are some very nice parks down the road in PWEEEE-blo.