Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Words translated to Latin sound like Vulcan names. (I Get Paid For Doing This)
I have nothing in the office refrigerator -- but I greatly admire the ongoing efforts of the Refrigerator Police to establish rules for the use of the Office Refrigerator. That note at right is posted on the door today. It is, by my count, the 1,738th attempt to get people to not simply let their stuff rot in the refrigerator.
Every time I see one of these, I wonder: who brings food to the office and then forgets it? Or is it more subtle? Are they doing it on purpose? Is it a passive-aggressive way of protesting some office policy?
But this memo, I particularly admired because this is, after all, a law office, and this memo makes very clear the criteria which will be considered for throwing out rotting food -- whether it looks suspect, smells suspect, or is "clearly no longer fresh for consumption," that last being the Refrigerator Memo equivalent of a clause intended to avoid the legal doctrine of inclusio unius exclusio alterius -- literally, "the inclusion of one excludes all those things not named."
Via that clause, all users of the Office Refrigerator are put on notice, via that little clause, that even if your food neither looks nor smells suspect, it may, in the discretion of the Memo Writer, be thrown out, but to save us from the tyranny of an unknown person, there is a limit on the exercise of that discretion: the food must "clearly be no longer fresh for consumption," and the use of that clearly indicates that there is an objective standard implied here -- that the so-called "reasonable person" must agree that the food would be such as to be no longer fresh for consumption.
And, with that, you've just saved yourself about three weeks in law school.
Having wasted 10 minutes taking that photo and now posting this, I'll waste a little more and give you the Latin for the clause in question; it was a sad day when lawyers stopped speaking Latin -- not just because it sounds better, but because it's easier to charge $265 an hour for what I do if I then tell you what I'm doing in a dead language.
See what I mean with this:
Ullus items ut vultus suspectus, nidor suspectus, vel es videlicet haud diutius.
I think it would be a great thing if some movie had, as a villain, "Videlicet Haud Diutius," with his henchman, Vultus Suspectus and Nidor Suspectus.
As a final note, I wonder if it was a stylistic choice to not underline the final exclamation point?