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C Wolf Forrest

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Member Since: Jan, 2007

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Language in Culture - or The Other Way Around
By C Wolf Forrest
Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Language in Culture - or The Other Way Around
Essay - Unpublished

Having spent a number of years in the United Kingdom, I sometimes wondered at the differences in language usage, spelling and definitions. After a bit, I acclimated and started spelling the words behavior as behaviour, labor as labour, theater as theatre and so forth. This was especially reinforced since I had acquired a British computer that had English (UK) as default.
For a time after our return to the USA, I still used that UK computer, attached to a transformer, and it did not occur to us to make any changes. That was until I started wanting to put a sign on our front lawn. After a year back home in the U.S., we had landed in Virginia and purchased a home. Soon thereafter, we began experiencing the seemingly never-ending parade of people knocking on our front doors, attempting to convince us that we absolutely had to purchase their windows, their pure-bred beef, their ice cream delivered daily, weekly or monthly or to subscribe to a newspaper or magazine. Or was that the newspaper to be delivered on that schedule and not the ice cream? No matter.
Then, of course, there was the relentless efforts by the Jehovah's Witnesses to join their club or buy their magazine, even though their quota of 144,000 had long ago been filled. Less aggressive the Mormons who only showed up about every six months or so. We never did see any representatives from the Hare Krishna Clan. Apparently they only congregate in airports.
          I looked at the nearest hardware store for an appropriate sign and, failing to find one to our liking, I used our British computer to fashion one. The first sign thus constructed read: 

Commercial or Religious
Vendors Welcome

          It seemed to make no difference. I asked those good folks if they had not seen the sign and they said they had, but-and they all had a but-they were not vendors of any sort. Okay, you twits, I thought, time to change our tactics. I looked at the sign displayed by our neighbors and it said 'No Solicitors.' It did not make much sense unless those people had legal problems and wanted no lawyers pounding on their door. I didn't want to give this impression since, by then, I was suing my former employer and did not want my attorney to feel unwelcome. The employer's attorney surely would have more sense to show up here since no doubt, mayhem and bloodshed would have resulted. I don't like mindless prevaricators. Obviously, a new sign was in order that might just make any vendor think twice-usually they only get as far as once.
One day I came home and a huge menacing spider had made his home right next to the front door. That gave me an idea and the next sign that went up read:

Please Beware!
Spiders, Snakes and Two Tarantulas
At Home Here
(Said to be Non-poisonous)
Proceed At Your Own Risk!

          That seemed to work quite well. Traffic stopped for a time and I think it was about four months before some folks from West-Virginia showed up and asked to see our snakes. Yeah, I know, OH LORD! We declined their request courteously, explaining that the snakes were presently feeding on live mice and the biggest one was devouring a cat and would not take kindly to being disturbed. Admittedly, they now looked disturbed, but perhaps they did not have far to go in any case. To date, we still do not know if it was those folks or if it was concerned neighbors who send Animal Control, that's another group of folks for which, as former State Humane Officers, we don't have much use, but that's another story. We sorted out that fiasco and sent them away after having explained our sign. I think I quoted an American lawyer, not a British solicitor, when I told them: “ . . . and if you don't believe that, get a warrant. Good-bye.”
          Okay, time for another sign, perhaps less threatening:

Please Beware!
Spiders, Two Mongooses and Two Tarantulas
At Home Here
(Said to be Non-poisonous)
Proceed At Your Own Risk!
(Mongeese ate the Snakes)

          We had to find a way to make the disappearance of the snakes seem natural and not an act of animal murder an our part, not only to speak of the fear that we may have turned them loose in the neighborhood. What do you call one Mangoose and then having another? Mongeese? Mongooses? Mongi? Anyway, two of THEM are a formidable weapon against snakes and should explain their disappearance.
          We should have known. Now we got all the neighbors, and some visitors, wanting to see these cute and brave little warriors called, you know, THEM. What a fiasco. We promised ourselves that if the next sign did not work, we would give up and post a 'No Solicitor' sign, lawyers be damned. It turned out that we would never have to post such a sign as the last one, which has now been up for over a year, has done the trick and worked its charm. It makes sense because we live at the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp.

Feeding of the
Crocodiles Alligators
is not permitted


       Web Site: Author C Wolf Forrest Website

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Reviewed by 000 000 12/27/2008
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blocking out the probably heard the song. Anyway, I loved this writing and it made me laugh! I do so enjoy a good read, even if it is a sign posted!
Reviewed by Cilla Worthen 9/24/2007
"And here's you sign". Very good.
Reviewed by Mary Coe 9/9/2007
Very amusing. A humorous write. I even get kids knoching on the door to sell candy. Now, I wouldn't mind buying candy from children to help the school. Except, I have to always explain to the kids and parents, that sometimes come with them, that I have two grandchildren at the same school and about a half dozen boxes of the same candy inside.
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 8/23/2007
so funny! i enjoyed it very much

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