Language Subtleties

Friday, September 13 2002

Xerox is an international company, and for the past week that has been more evident than ever as I’ve been working with two chaps from England who are working on the same project as me.

I know this will all come around to get me someday when I least expect it, but I’ve been taking serious advantage of the subtle differences between American English and “Queen’s English” as they put it, and different cultures in general.

For instance, when one asked “what do you call those?” while pointing at tater tots, “puffy lumps” seems like a good substitute to teach him. Baseballs are wrought iron with a leather cover, and the local Oregon marrionberrys are a type of tomato. Silly putty is a hair removal product, and jelly is the juice that comes out of the mustard bottle before the mustard actually comes out.

I’ve earned their mistrust, as they now think I’m making it up when I talk about a pickle in baseball. They’ll realize before too long that it wasn’t a joke, and will then have to trust that half the time I’m correct in what I teach them.

Tomorrow, I plan on reinforcing that a restroom should actually be called the honey pot, ATM’s are called Warbucks, giving the bird while driving is encouraged, and giving pelvic thrusts is better than giving high fives.

I fear the day I land on British soil in their care.