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Conversational scrap

Overheard in an academic building last week:

"Is that a test tube?"
"No, a scalpel."

I wonder how it's possible to confuse these things?

I went to a lecture tonight in which the speaker spoke of the town's worthies. I hadn't realized that people did that any more. It was especially striking to realize that "worthies" included notable sportspeople, not just famous gentry.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
LOL! I am boggling too.
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
Our scalpels originally come covered in cardboard slips that are useless for further storage. We therefore keep our scalpels stuck into tubes so nobody reaching carelessly into the drawer will lose a finger!
Feb. 11th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
But then's BOTH a scalpel AND a test tube - not just one or the other. (Very sensible.)
Feb. 12th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
Not in laboratory semantics! We mcguyverize items like this all the time because our budget doesn't allow us to buy the real stuff (which is horrendously overprized anyway). So the dialogue "Is this X?" "No, it is Y." sounds very familiar. And most of the time you cannot return to function X from function Y, so, not "both-and".
Feb. 12th, 2010 08:42 am (UTC)
Perhaps a (box of) test-tubes(s) vs. a (box of) scalpel(s), which need to be unpacked in different places?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )