July 8th, 2003

What If I’m Still Using It?

There’s a sticker on the light switch in my office that says, “Turn off when not in use.” The sticker’s been there the whole time I’ve been here, but it struck me today – isn’t “using lights” defined by them being on? Therefore, it would follow that, to not use them, you’d have to turn them off. Yes?

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a co-worker named Kelly many years ago when I worked at the hardware store in Fort Atkinson. I’m not sure how we got around to this, but he ended the conversation with this zinger: “Wasn’t it nice of them to put lights in here so you could see what you’re doing in the dark?” I say he ended the conversation with that, but I really think that my cackling with glee might have actually caused the end of the conversation. I remember writing it down, it struck me as being so funny.

While we’re on the subject, why are we still TURNing off the lights? I don’t know about you, but I generally find myself SWITCHing off the lights. Yes, I’m sure it has something to do with the old lamps needing to be turned or maybe the original light switches needed to be, but the language can grow and change, dang it! I’m not going to go on a crusade about this like I have done with the pronunciation of the abbreviation URL (think “Duke of URL”), but it could bother me if I thought about it much.

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