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Education Plus

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Know Your English

“Why are you still in your gym clothes? Aren't you getting late for office?”

“I will be working from home today.”

“I see. My friend Dileep goes to the same gym as you.”

“Dileep? You mean the workout impostor?”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“A ‘workout impostor' is someone who wants to create the impression he exercises. You'll see him/her walking around in gym clothes, but the person seldom works out.”

“The clothes and the other accessories are merely for show.”

“Exactly! My neighbour is a workout impostor.”

“Right now, you look like a workout impostor. Anyway, how is the annual report coming along?”

“I haven't started yet. I have been overcome by perfectionist paralysis, I'm afraid.”

“What kind of paralysis is that?”

“It's the inability to start work on anything because you are scared that the finished product may not be perfect.”

“And as a perfectionist, you want the product to be perfect too.”

“Exactly! Bala never got around to writing the paper because he had perfectionist paralysis.”

“Perfectionist paralysis isn't very common among Indians.”

“You have a point there. We don't mind if our work...”

“I understand Suchi came to you for advice. What did you tell her?”

“Absolutely nothing!”

“The poor thing. Why didn't you say something that...”

“She didn't give me a chance. She spoke non-stop. I was merely a word receptacle.”

“A word receptacle? Isn't a receptacle a container?”

“Yes, that's right. It's a container into which….”

“So when you say you are a word receptacle, you mean you are a container into which people put words. In other words, you are merely a listener.”

“Very good! A word receptacle is someone who is at the receiving end of a one way conversation. He/she is forced to listen to what the other person is saying. The listener doesn't contribute to the conversation.”

“Whenever I'm in the company of Laxman, I'm often reduced to a word receptacle.”

“You can't blame poor Laxman. He's a word receptacle when he's at home.”

“That's true. How was the party last night? Did the people laugh at your jokes?”

“I made sure they did. I took my joke insurance with me.”

“Joke insurance? Is there such a thing?”

“Of course, there is! When you tell a joke, what do you want people to do?”

“You want them to laugh. If they don't, you end up feeling pretty silly.”

“Exactly! To ensure that at least one person laughs, you take joke insurance with someone. Whenever you tell a joke, this person will immediately start laughing.”

“And you will probably laugh when he tells a joke.”

“Exactly! For the party, I had joke insurance with Ganesh.”

“Ganesh? He doesn't even understand jokes!”

* * *

“The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest perhaps they are too old to do it.” — Ann Bancroft


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