Thursday, September 22, 2005

Take My Wife, Please

One thing that I've always found mildly annoying is the way people refer to members of their family using phrases like: "my wife", "my brother", "my son", etc. in the presense of people who already know the real names of these people. This seems to happen the most in work environments. I once had a boss who always referred to his wife by her name, but always referred to his children chronologically (my oldest, my youngest, etc.) He had more than two kids though, so it often made things kind of clumsy, i.e. "I was at my second-oldest's soccer game last night..." Now that I'm married, I'm trying not to fall into this habit, but it's hard. I've broken this rule at least once on my blog, though I don't know if I everyone who reads this is on a first name basis with my wife (Michelle). So far, I'm one for two today at work.


dusty said...

A certain mac-and-cheese-in-the-hat confecting friend often refers to his male parent as "my dad" -- to his own brother, who has the same annoying tic. As close to any sort of predictor for why someone would overuse the possessive that I've considered is the utterer's predilection for pissing contests in conversation. Those (mostly men, probably) who constantly say, "I've got this," and "I've got that" may also run the risk of affixing possession to kith and kin, since denoting a belonging of any kind is far too important in interpersonal communication. This is something that's bugged me for about 20 years, FYI.

dhodge said...

I can see how those who view possession as ten-tenths of the law would be prone to this. I think a lot of it is just laziness.

MDS said...

I've never really understood the phrase "possession is nine-tenths of the law." What in the hell is that supposed to mean? If I take possession of your property, am I now the owner of a 90 percent stake in it? When you google "possession is nine-tenths of the law" it asks you, Did you mean: "possession is nine-months of the law." And yet there's not a single page on the whole wide world wide web that contains that phrase, and there are more than 17,000 that contain "possession is nine-tenths of the law." That seems like a Google glitch to me. Of course, now that I've posted this here, as soon as the Google crawlers detect it, everyone who googles that phrase will find your blog. I expect a cut of your banner ad profits.

dhodge said...

Possession is nine-tenths of the law is kind of like the glass half full/half empty test. Only instead of determining if you are an optimist or a pessimist, it determines if you are a capitalist or a communist.

Capitalists will look at the phrase and decide that it means that the law cannot be used to take away that which is rightfully yours except in the most extreme circumstances (the other one-tenth of the law).

Communists will look at it and decide that by law, they can control any resource that can be wrested away from its original owner, except in the most extreme circumstances.

In addition to siding with the communist interpretation of this phrase in your comments, you also stated your desire to expropriate any revenues that I may collect from my blog, MDS. Based on this information, I have to assume that you are a commie.