My friend is a rather old-fashioned lady, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language. She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground and asked for a reservation.
She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t know how to gracefully ask about toilet facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term, “bathroom commode.” But when she wrote it down, she still thought she was being too forward. So, she started all over again, rewrote the entire letter, and referred to the bathroom commode merely as the “B.C.”
“Does the campground have its own B.C.?” is actually what she wrote.
Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure out what the woman was talking about. That “B.C.” business just stumped him. After worrying about it for a while, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either. So, the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:
I regret very much this delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a B.C. is located 9 miles north of the campground, and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it.
They usually arrive early and stay late. The last time my wife and I went was 6 years ago, and it was so crowded that we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know now, there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats. They’re going to hold it in the basement of the B.C.
I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather.
If you decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, and introduce you to all the other folks. Remember, this is a friendly community.
I have no idea who originally wrote the above story, but I’ve posted it here for two reasons:
1. It’s hilarious. If you didn’t laugh out loud, then you have either (1) read this before or (2) didn’t read it. 🙂
2. it serves as a great illustration of how some people use the same terms to mean different things. If we want to properly communicate with others, we need to make sure that we make our meanings clear with the words we choose.