At The Risk Of Being Redundant, May I Repeat Myself?

No one living in the States has been able to avoid the news of General Petraeus’ resignation upon the discovery of an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.  This isn’t a post about the implications of his decision, issues of cyber-security and/or who will succeed him at the CIA.

The press and pundits keep referring to this dalliance as ‘an extra-marital affair’.  Isn’t that redundant?  If a person is married and is having an affair, by definition isn’t it ‘extra-marital’?  And typically the reaction to the idea of something being ‘extra’ is usually positive.  “Extra-strength”, “extra-special”, ‘extra-ordinary”.  And from where I sit in this instance “extra-aneous”.  We got it the first time.

This reminds me a little bit of poorly written street signs.  “Caution children at play” – what are we supposed to be warning them about?  “Deer crossing” – who knew deer could read and were limited to crossing roads at appointed places?  Is a “quiet car’ on a train really silent?  I’ve yet to sit in one – snoring is a noise, keys tapping on a keyboard, requests for soda…all emit sounds.  I’m sure you’ve got examples of your own – which I’d love to hear.  I particularly wonder about signs that say “blind person crossing” – how the heck can they see that?   Don’t you think it would behoove us just to keep our eyes out for someone who may have visual limitations?

I wonder if that’s why there are so many possums born dead in the middle of the road.  There are no signs for them.

Somehow though, the idea of duplicative language seems particularly hurtful when it comes to the actions people take outside their marriage.  Just say ‘affair’ and let it go.  It hurts enough – we all get that whatever happened,  occurred outside the marital construct.  I’ve come up with some other messages that would elicit more explicit reactions and understandings. “Smile” – the here and now is pretty good”; Give people the better side of yourself and see what happens”; “Children – if you’re playing, be careful of the monkey bars and stay away from the street”;  “Deer – cross wherever the heck you want, but look out for cars”.  Let’s keep them easy and clear and to the point.  Oops, I guess that was iterative.  I guess this is something we all have to work on.  And I leave you with this one which I think is priceless..

 

 

29 thoughts on “At The Risk Of Being Redundant, May I Repeat Myself?

  1. This mega-story(not) is all that’s on the news in the jury room today. Your use of language is eloquent and articulate as always. And since this sorry story has been my only contact with the outside world I do want to thank you for taking the truck out on this dismal day. You brought intellect and wit to this antiquated jury selection process and the accompanying boredom. Thanks.

  2. Laughing….you nailed it once more, Mimi…. I’ve always been struck by the ‘Moose Crossing’ signs up in this neck of the woods. Like a deer, a moose is probably gonna cross whenever and wherever it wants. I’ve often thought it would be fun to write “car may be using the road” on the opposite side of the sign, as it would likely be just about as helpful to the moose as our side of the sign is to us! 😉 xo, L

  3. My personal favorite stupid sign here in Maine is “Slow Deaf Child Ahead.” Isn’t it bad enough that the child is deaf? Must we label him/her as slow, too? 😉

  4. I am so with you, there are stupid signs like that here too as for extra-marital affairs well I don’t really give a shit what other people do people have affairs all the bloody time does anyone other then those involved really give a shit……………..me thinks not………….

      • If you go to the Denver Post – and realize that I work in human services, with the county human services departments, and see what this week has looked like, you will understand. That and 9 news both – the double whammy – fun, fun!! Thanks for understanding! I miss you and can’t wait to take a breath and catch up!

      • 🙂 Thanks. It has been a crazy week, and I have a conference coming up that I am planning too, so sorry I have been a little checked out. I sure miss the automatic deep breaths I get when I read your blog!!

  5. First, let me say thank you! For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how all of those possums ended up in the middle of the road, now I know… Also, it’s not so much the blind people walking by the “blind person crossing” signs that scares me, it’s more the folks needing to use the brail on the drive thru ATM machines that make me a little nervous.

    Very funny, really well written post!

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