Keepin’ It Literal
Posted by Neal on February 23, 2005
Geoff Pullum writes about someone else’s literal-minded sense of humor:
I was giving directions to my house this morning…. “At the end of the cul de sac,” I told him, “you’ll see a driveway with a pile of mulch under a blue tarp; that’s us.” And I heard him giggle. I saw why. We are not a pile of mulch under a blue tarp, Barbara and me; rather, we live in the house behind it.
I’d’ve laughed, too. It reminded me of what my wife told the babysitter as we were leaving for the parent-teacher conferences last week:
And my cellphone is on the refrigerator if you need to call us.
I said a better plan would probably be to take her cellphone with us, and just leave her cellphone number on the fridge.*
We’ve been together long enough that she often knows when my literalness is about to surface. A day or two later, she talked with the director of Doug’s old preschool, who also happened to have been Doug’s teacher when he was in the class for three-year-olds. At supper, she told Doug about the meeting, and asked him:
Can you believe I talked to your three-year-old teacher today?
Heh, heh, I was thinking, that’s fu–
“Don’t say it!” she told me.
*Or frig, as I’ve seen it spelled here. It makes me think of a prude cussing about someone stealing his lunch at work: “It was right here in the friggin’ frig, and now it’s gone!”