December 16, 2004

On Bluffing

I work at a coffee shop called Cole & Parks. I rather enjoy working there, to the extent that I don't have to do all the dishes on my shift, but I tend to find a few things rather annoying.

Have you ever noticed (especially those of you who work in food services) that people will do what is minimally required of them in any given situation? This includes coworkers and also the people you serve.

But I'm not here to whine about my job. I'm here to tell about something I find amusing.

We have a sandwich called a "panini." As I write this, you just translated how that is said in your head, however you would pronounce it. It is this that I find amusing. It's an italian word that more or less means "grilled sandwich," and people try so hard to get it right the first time they see it. You can always tell a newbie by the way they pronounce "panini." Some say "pah-nih-nih," or "pah-ni-NIGH", or even more amusing, "PAH-ni-NEE". Sometimes they'll really goof up and emphasize every syallable; I guess they assume that if they don't know how to pronounce it, they'll just say it really loudly and maybe I'll know what they're talking about (as opposed to the only other food we have, soups and wraps). The smart ones will either know how to pronounce it ("pah-NEE-nee") or will ask, not afraid to look the fool.

I love it when people ask - it means that they don't think they know everything. It's surprising how many people walk into the store and look at something and say "ah yes, just like at home," when in fact there's nothing remotely like what they're looking at "at home."

I find this particularly amusing when it's somebody I know.

The correlary to this is a story my music history TA told me. He was telling me about a book that he had which describes how to bluff your way through any musical conversation. For example, if someone says something to the effect of "I just LOVE Bach," you're supposed to lean back in your chair reflectively, a slighly dazed (yet insightfuly, looking far-off into the distance) expression on your face, rub your chin, and say (again, reflectively and knowingly), "ahhh ... Bach." Apparently you no longer have an obligation to contribute to the conversation after this - your work is finished.

I plan on using this the rest of my life.

Who knew it could be so easy? You can literally bluff your way through a conversation about anything! "Ahhh, nuclear fusion," or "ahhhhhh, monet" or "ahhhhhh, social security." Heck, it could even degenerate to the point of "ahhhh ... muffins." See the potential? Unless of course, you goof up - there's always those darn words like "panini" to keep you on your toes ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just wonder, why does it matter if we know how to pronounce something right or if we know what musician is which? Who the hell cares about what others think. When one reaches the point where they no longer care about what others think, thats when one becomes liberated.