Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to Get an Eskimo to Undress...and Other Lessons of the Day

 [click picture to enlarge]

This is the sign outside our local library today (that's my daughter, Abby, as Vanna White). Now, I'm as forgiving as the next guy when it comes to hastily-produced homemade signs, but really—is it too much to expect library workers, of all people, to know that "book" and "sale" are separate words, especially when they can see it correctly rendered on the sandwich-board sign they're augmenting?

Incidentally, I picked up a couple of interesting titles at the aforementioned "booksale": a classic work on typography and layout, and a curious little phrasebook called "Conversational Eskimo." Curious because, in addition to the standard banal phrasebook entries ("How are you?" "Glad to meet you" "I am much obliged to you") we find entries like these on page 83:
Please remove your dress!   (annoraerlaurit!)
And your bra                       (amamamiutarlo)
Please undress!                    (annorairlaurit!)

My first thought was that if this is an example of "conversational" Eskimo, they have more lively conversations than I heretofore imagined. (Note, by the way, the exclamatory commands in the first and final examples—evidently, she wasn’t removing that bra fast enough.) As it turns out, these entries are in a section headed "Examination" and are presumably for the edification of medical professionals. Still, it's nice to know that if I meet a comely Inuit woman of dubious morals, I'll have a few choice pick-up lines chambered.