It naturally conjured up the decades-old incident about the departing Clinton White House staff removing the letter "W" from keyboards in anticipation of Dubya and the gang moving in. That anecdote got blown out of proportion, then of course had a full-fledged government commission report. The initial response in the link above is my preferred kind of playful poisson-d'avril kind of fun.
But ultimately, all of my thought-roads lead to French. Bien sur! So as I pondered my own missing "W," I mused, "Well, it wouldn't really matter if I were writing in French, because there are precious few French words that begin with the letter 'W'."
And of course in French the letter is double vé....double-V, not double-U.
And yes, in fact, so there are so few W-words in French that they can all be listed on one page. Here they are. Check 'em out: there are some standards and some doozies!
Week-end, wharf, wagon, web 2.0., whisky. Some are the usual suspects, but none are very French-sounding, eh? Except for wisigoth, and methinks even that is an alternate spelling.
And words that simply contain the letter "W" are few and far between. Hmm: sandwich. Can you think of others?
One thing I can vouch for: when playing French Scrabble, you definitely don't want to draw the "W" tile, except that it's worth a gajillion points.
In order to confirm the status of the letter W in French, I plan to wander the streets of Nouveau York and ask random French people (apparently about 50% of the current NYC population, estimated from language overheard on street corners) their opinions of the lettre double vé and I'll report back. I don't expect a huge response. But you never know.
Thinking of absent letters, I recently stopped by the library at the fabulous FIAF, and to my thrifty delight, I found, in their used-book-for-a-buck sale cart, an uncracked edition of La Disparition by Georges Perec.
If you are not familiar with this work (or any of the oeuvre of Perec), it is a 305-page French novel written without using the letter "E."
I'm in havn.