Saturday, February 25, 2006

Proceed with Caution

Every language has those polite little oddities--
expressions that can mean nothing or signify danger ahead.

Phrases such as:

"If you don't mind I'll..."

"Do you/Would you mind if I..."

Let's say, for instance, you are working in an open office and someone says,

"Do you mind if I take off my shoes?"

As is often the case in these situations, the person will engage in the aforementioned act without waiting for a reply. Asking is merely a formality.

Then, let us suppose, there is a second person present, who seeing the action of the first, decides to follow suit. This second person need not bother with asking rhetorical questions, seeing as how their predecessor did not meet with any objection.

Now, if you were to add the consumption of foods such as sardines and pork rinds to the equation, the situation could become very dangerous indeed.

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