Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Piloting Conversations That Concern Mindless Deaths (A Story)

Approaching a large city, a pilot and co-pilot struggle to keep control of their plane. A wing is rendered unresponsive after a massive collection of geese intercept the flight path and are sucked into the fans. The pilot radios for help, but communication is down.

“We’re dropping too fast for the brakes to stop us, and the wheels will crack under the impact,” the pilot said. “There’s over a thousand people in that stadium. Most of them aren’t going to survive this blast if we don’t get control back.”

“There’s more than a thousand people,” the co-pilot said.

“That’s what I said.”

“No, you said over. You should have said more than. More than refers to numbers while over is reserved for distance. It’s just a small correction.”

“Why do you care?” the pilot asked.

“Because it’s correct.”

“No, why do you care so much to correct me about it? Do you think I care?”

“You should,” the co-pilot said. “I just want to help you sound intelligent to every other person you’ll talk to.”

“Let me tell you something. Only 10% of the world will know the difference between more than and over. The other 90% will hear me and think I’m fine and hear you and think you’re an anal ass who has no friends. In fact, they’ll hear you and think you were that girl on the school bus no one sat next to because she gave longer lectures than the teachers. Hell, the teachers probably didn’t even know that rule.”

“I’m just trying to help you sound intelligent!”

“Even if that rule is right, if I try to correct people on a rule that very few others follow, then they’ll think I’m pompous and disregard everything I say because I don’t understand them on their level. I won’t be labeled intelligent by the 90% because they’ll think I’m trying too hard to impress them with things they don’t know, and I won’t be labeled as intelligent by the 10% because that rule is the least I should know.”

“So if you’re going to be labeled one way or the other, don’t you want to sound correct when you—”

The plane hits the ground and explodes, sending shrapnel flying into a nearby sports stadium. Of the two thousand and six hundred spectators and players, over more than over more than a number higher than a thousand are killed.


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