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?


Rogue Mutt said...

One place I worked, someone left a whole freaking watermelon in the fridge for several days. Finally I sent out an Email asking that whoever put it in there please do something with it because it was taking up an entire shelf of the fridge so that no one had room anywhere.

What I don't get are these people who bring like fifteen condiments and leave the partially-used bottles in there for all eternity. Can't you just bring a cup with some ranch dressing for your salad instead of leaving a whole bottle in there until it's gone green and fuzzy?

I'm sure some comedian has got a whole routine out of office fridges. If not, someone is missing out on a golden opportunity!

Briane P said...

I think the problem is people getting too fancy with their lunches. My lunches used to be sandwich + ramen noodles + some sort of chips; since the heart attack, they're "sandwich + a fruit or vegetable + some sort of chips that are vaguely healthier than I used to eat." Either way, if I want to eat something fancy, I have a whole kitchen at home.

anna. said...

i'm pretty sure the first thing i noticed when i saw that note was the un-underlined exclamation mark. i mean, seriously. GO BIG OR GO HOME (with your smelly, too-old-to-safely-consume lunches).

Briane P said...

@anna: I think the failure to underline that last exclamation point resulted in our office not taking the memo seriously. I can almost hear the snickering. 'Only 75% underlining? Please. Call me when you're serious.'

'Go big or go home.' I love it.

Michael Offutt said...

These policies can be funny but are greatly needed because others will stuff the fridge with food and just let it rot in there.

And Rogue...we have an entire drawer full of condiments in our office completely bursting with them.