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Literal Cutlery

At dinner the other night, the following exchange:

She: This cutlery is literally 100 years old.
Me: Literally?
She: Well...
Me: Approximately?
She: *agrees and comments on the difficulty of getting it right to the very day*

Later, after I've had a chance to read my fork:

Me: You've seriously underestimated the age of this fork. It's 162 years old.
She: How can you tell?
Me: I read the year of manufacture* on the fork. The maker's mark on the knife was too small to read without a magnifying glass.
She: *boggles*
Me: But I'm sure the pattern was still in use forty years later!

* Or possible just the year the pattern mode was made. Still, unless its known to be a later use of the pattern, I'd claim the greater age for the fork, if at all appropriate, and since it's being presented as a historically-situated object.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
This is why historians rarely get invited to nice dinner parties! Historicizing the flatware and arguing about dates.
May. 12th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
The widespread misuse of the word "literally" (typically as a synonym for "really") amuses me. I've taken to wondering how something could be, for example, metaphorically a hundred years old.
May. 12th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
It's even better when people use it in the middle of cliches "So then, I literally exploded!"
May. 12th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Shana, some anonymous bunny boiler is posting 1-900-SEXXXYTIME stuff in your comments!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )