Mary Malaprop #1

I trust there will be more in this series, but here’s the first one.

Re: Brits

Here’s an amusing anecdote that only someone with Brit experience can appreciate:

When the aerospace company I worked in some years ago was acquired by a huge Brit conglomerate, they sent in a very dour Scot as CFO to hack the personnel down to size. My wife Mary, being in charge of business practice reorganization, often had to get his approval on things. He hated the idea of a woman in such a high position, and he hated that she was always better informed than he was. But what he especially hated was that she was completely honest and straightforward, and didn’t have a single political cell in her body. She was always cheerful and laughing, and one’s first impression of her was that she was 20 years younger than she actually was. She was also a fountainhead of malaprops, some of which could have inspired a doctoral thesis. One of her long-term malaprops, which I didn’t realize she was using until long after it had done its work, was a substitution for the famous signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Mary would walk smiling into Duff’s stuffy, repressed office and slap some paperwork onto his desk, saying, in cheerful innocence, “Hi! I just need you to put your John Thomas on this.”

I think Duff never quite decided if she knew what she was actually saying.

And later, when she told me what she had been saying to Duff, and after I had explained how wonderfully inappropriate that was—she continued to do it. But always with a smile.

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