Monday, February 4, 2008

ESD #4: what the...

I greatly enjoy moments when someone earnestly tries to recall a piece of information, only to recall it and realize it's entirely inappropriate to share with the present company. Even more enjoyable is the inevitable cover up after the moment of recollection.

A classic example: Sally and her boss are presenting in a room full of potential clients. She spies a familiar face at the end of the conference table, but can't recall how she knows him. During a break, she tells her boss, "I know the balding gentleman with the gray suit and red tie, but I don't know how. Do you know him?"

"No, I've never seen him before."

At once, fuzzy memories of drunk karaoke, sloppy kissing and copying machine antics come rushing at Sally, as she realizes the balding gentleman with the gray suit and red tie is Last Year's Corporate Office Party Mistake. Attempting to cover up the horror of her recollection, she calmly responds, "Huh. I must be wrong."

My husband's parents once told us about a dull yet intriguing film about string theory. My husband said, "Oh, yes, what was that movie called?" and proceeded to quote whatever he retained from A.O. Scott's review of the film. That he couldn't remember the name bothered him terribly. I smugly enjoyed his frustration, knowing he was talking about "What the Fuck Do We Know?", which surely was not the film his conservative parents had watched. I eagerly anticipated his moment of realization when he would say, "Oh I know! It's "What the..." what the... oh... no, that's not it." Alas, he didn't have that moment. I had to tell him after his parents left the room.

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