Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun With English

Wikipedia offers a list of the 100 most common words in the English language. This post is dedicated to those who strive to use words that don't even dream of being on that list.

As a waitress, I witness a lot of business meetings. During these encounters I try to offer what we call in the restaurant industry, "silent service". This means I try my darndest to anticipate and attend to the needs of a table full of guests while speaking as little as possible. It's a tricky skill to master. The guests usually help me out, though - they do their part by generally treating me as if I'm invisible. Thus, as I'm placing refills on the table and clearing plates, I hear all the details of things like quarterly estimates, profit projections and sales pitches.

A few days ago I served two guests that were involved in a sales meeting - something to do with pharmaceuticals. Guest A was the salesman and Guest B was the potential buyer. Guest A pulled out a large canvas case. It looked like an oversized wallet only, instead of carrying numerous credit cards, it housed at least two dozen different types of labeled prescription pills.

GUEST A: These are the prescriptions that I'm able to offer my clients.
GUEST B: (Leaning forward and peering over his glasses.) For what host of maladies?

"For what host of maladies." Please, take a moment to enjoy that. In the middle of a work shift, I felt like I had been transported into the Apothecary scene from Romeo and Juliet.

"For what host of maladies?" 
Such mortal drugs I have; but Mantua's law
Is death to any he that utters them.

Sweet Lord, that's good stuff.

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