Monday, January 18, 2010

Eats, Shoots and Leaves? Eats Shoots and Leaves?

For anyone who's ever seen the book "Eats Shoots and Leaves", we understand that the English language is a minefield of misunderstanding waiting to happen.

I recently took out a book titled "What Every Body Is Telling You - A Guide For Speed Reading People".  It's a terrible book.  Written by an "ex"-FBI agent, it's supposed to help you understand body language, but instead it just makes you question the caliber of the people in the FBI.

But it sparked a conversation that went EXACTLY like this:

Carol:  So, what makes that book only for speed readers?  I opened it up and it looks like a normal book to me.

Me: What?

Carol:  The book says it's for speed-reading people.  Why's it only for speed readers?

Me:  What?  Nonononono... it's not FOR speed-reading people, well it is, but, it's to help you speed READ people.  Like READ their body language.

Carol:  Oh...  Don't look at me like that.  You can see where the misunderstanding could come from.  Anyways, is it good?  Have you learned anything so far?

Me:  Nah.  It's fairly obvious stuff.  It has some interesting stuff where it links body language with innate physiological responses though.  Like that whole thing about crossing arms being a fairly hostile gesture.  It's supposed to be a protective thing when you're in an uncomfortable situation, you protect your major organs, blah, blah, blah.

Carol:  I always thought that was crap.  I cross my arms all the time.  I cross my arms because it's comfortable.  What else am I going to do with my arms?

Me:  But what makes it comfortable?  Maybe it's comfortable because subconsciously you've moved to protect yourself?  And that display of protection is kind of a passive-aggressive thing?

Carol:  Are you calling me passive-aggressive?

Me:  No, sweetheart.   You're very clearly aggressive-aggressive.  Let's not get it twisted.

The English language, ladies and gentlemen.  A minefield of misunderstanding.


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