The Underlining

23 October 07

A diplomatic cocktail. You are sipping your martini, bewildered by the amount of snobs per square foot. They are all chatting about superfluous topics and you are trying your best to follow their conversations and see if anyone of them will break into something remotely piquant or important for international relations. Finally, with the confidence of 007, you swallow the tasteless pitted olive and walk up to Moroccan military attaché and his wife:

— Excuse me, dear lady — you are being overly polite, but so is everybody else — may I borrow your husband for a minute?

Moroccan military attaché‘s wife makes a mild joke about you returning him like you found him, and goes to mingle with other diplomatic spouses.

— Colonel, could we possibly discuss the recent purchase that the Moroccan Navy made… — you decide to shake up the conversation a bit.

Then you take a can of spray paint and spray a blue circle over his shirt. As he looks at you in surprise, you draw lines with a permanent marker all over his face.

Well, you just don’t fucking do that sort of stuff, now do you!?

And the same way you don’t draw stuff over Moroccan military attachés, you don’t underline text or draw stuff in library books!

What’s up with that? What sort of person takes a book from any one of Belgrade libraries and then underlines stuff in blue ink?

And why are, as a rule, first 20 or 30 pages of a book religiously underlined, then the underlining gets fewer and further in between, until the asshole finally gives up on this sort of a “study method”?

Finally, I must implore: please, do not, under any circumstances, underline phrases and words that you don’t understand in foreign language books!

If you’re gonna look up those words, then keep a dictionary close and do it as you read. It’s not like you’ll come back to see what words that you read a month ago mean! I don’t know what inimical means in English either, nor can I find Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister in my German dictionary, but that’s why I either write the word down in my vocabulary notebook, or look it up right away if I need it to understand the meaning of the sentence.

And back to my previous point: you didn’t know what to denude means on page 15, but you know what syncategorematic means on page 75?

Oh, please!


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