Unexpectedly… You keep using that word, I do not think that it means what you think it means.


If an alien from outer space (not one from say Mexico) were to arrive on earth and stop someplace in the United States, for, oh let’s say a cup of coffee. And while drinking his coffee, were to pick up and read (we are of course assuming that any alien intelligent enough to cross the unimaginably vast distance between stars, can read, and the English would not be a particularly difficult language for him to figure out) a morning edition of let’s say, the New York Times or maybe Bloomberg.

His coming across the following story might not raise much surprise or even curiosity.

Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Dropped in April

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders unexpectedly fell in April for a third month, restrained by rising costs for materials and financing restrictions.

Wait…. Don’t spew your coffee on your monitor just yet. At this point, yes, we are assuming that our fictional visitor from another advanced civilization is the alien version of Clark W. Griswold, Jr., intelligent enough to rent a Recreational vehicle and cross the stars on vacation, intelligent enough to read a newspaper, but not actually bright enough to grasp the basic fundamental concept that while words do in fact have individual meanings, that they also have secondary contextual meaning as well.

On the other hand, if we were to assume that our alien visitor were perhaps a bit less of a bumbling buffoon, say, perhaps an intergalactic encyclopedia writer, like say, Ford Prefect, it would not be difficult to imagine him reading the preceding sentence and, well spewing coffee out of his nose as he laughs uncontrollably at the pure unadulterated stupidity of the statement. One could easily be forgiven for assuming that Mr Prefect having read the a fore mentioned sentence had just come to the inescapable conclusion that the writers of said publication were utter morons writing to complete imbeciles.

An event that happen once, can be characterized as “Unexpected”, when it happens twice, it become, surprising upon it’s third consecutive occurrence only a complete imbecile or a psychopathic lair would classify it as “Unexpected” furthermore, to classify it as “Unexpected” and then put in the environmentally conditional modifier, “fell in April for a third month” leads to the inescapable conclusion that the writer of said sentence, is both a complete imbecile and a psychopathic lair, and that they must be writing to people even more deluded them they themselves. Add to this, that when an event not only happens once, twice, even a third time, but continues to repeat itself over and over and over again over a span of 60 months.

Well in such a scenario, it begs ones imagination as to how Mr Ford Prefect, short of being a kind and generous individual could write a entry for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which could be distilled down to, “Mostly Harmless”. At best any rational, logical and reasonably sane individual would have to conclude that “Mostly Harmless” was some kind of mistranslation or typo and obviously the entry was supposed to read “Mostly Stupid”.

And on the third hand, were our morning coffee drinking newspaper reader less of a visiting alien tourist and perhaps more of a medieval Spaniard bent of revenging his fathers murder, like, oh I don’t know, maybe, Inigo Montoya… Then, the expected, na, obligatory response from Senior Montoya, would in fact be no less than that which the offending sentence demanded.

Unexpected? You keeps using that word, I do not think that it means what you think it means.

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2 thoughts on “Unexpectedly… You keep using that word, I do not think that it means what you think it means.

  1. Being British, I have such qualms over words that are used to express things, that are incorrect. Well written and timely piece! So whether you see my reply as blathering blethering or blithering, I am not stupid either! Lol!! Kudos!

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