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     Volume 6 Issue 39 | October 5, 2007 |

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Quote, Quote, Unquote


The following piece I received in my mailbox; in fact many months ago, and I have got to share it with you:
Last month, a worldwide survey was conducted by the UN.
The only question asked was: “Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"
The survey was a huge failure.
In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.
In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.
In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.
In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.
In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.
In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.
And in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.
That is not the first time that words have been misunderstood. For instance:
DESA subscriber's plea: Let there be light!
Son of a civil servant to his mother: Baba Keno Chaakor? (Why is dad a servant?)
Hoarse voice during Eid shopping: Why should girls have all the fun?
Traffic sergeant in earning mood: Ayee mon chaye je mor (This heart wants a traffic junction)
Slogan of the reformists: Just do it!
Some statements have been attributed to people for being bad pupil of their own lecture. Perhaps the most apt one would be to ascribe the following twisted quote to a former finance minister, who came on television each evening sermonising on how the nation should behave financially, and so busy was he that indeed he forgot to pay his own tax returns: Don't practice what you preach.
For good or for worse, many rulers, including a former debonair president, have certain quotes tagged to their image, often with the help of a certain degree of editing. This one goes well for most of them: Eat, drink and (be) marry.
A few we always find are innocent errors and one may not be harshly critical. For instance, a cultural reporter got the words wrong and wrote “critical award” instead of “critique's award”. But, who knows? Maybe the scribe in effect meant that because of the nature of the awards (the jury, the judgement and all) the verdict on the whole was crucial or significant.
And you will find some words usually on the packages of goods made in the Far East that makes interesting reading. On a plaything meant for the under fives were written the words “Don't close fire.” Surely, and I hope I am right, for such translations can save lives, the author meant for the user parent to make sure that the toy was not taken close to a fire. One thing for sure, my English teacher would be on fire.
T-shirts have the perfect place to blare out a slogan, a motto or something funny or thought provoking to catch your eyes, not that many in such attire appreciate an ogling maniac. Especially you should never read the front of a tee shirt with one eye. You could lose both. Here are some clean ones that hit you just like that:
“If I was you, I wouldn't be me!”
“School is where they put you to learn while you're trying to do other things.”
“A man only has two sides: A true one and a contradictory one.”
“This body best viewed with Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher.”
“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”
“I've done a lot of soul searching and there's nothing there.”
“My long-term goal is to get-rich-quick.”
“I was abducted by Aliens and all I got was this lousy t-shirt!”
And on the back of one T-shirt: “If you see me getting smaller, I'm leaving.”
People sometimes play with words only to liven up life; our kudos to the ingenuity of these lexical maestros. Now here are some intentionally-warped statements that make sense.
Over a gynaecologist's office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed”
On the trucks of a plumbing company in Pennsylvania, USA: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
Pizza shop slogan: "7 days without pizza makes one weak."
Outside a (car) muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
Door of a plastic surgeon's office: "We can help you pick your nose!"
On an electrician's truck: "Let us remove your shorts."
On a maternity room door: "Push. Push. Push."
At an optometrist's (eye examiner) office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
In the front yard of a funeral home in England: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."
And here in Dhaka, on a petrol tank of a truck: “Jonmo thekey jolchi” (Burning since birth.) But then are we not all?

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