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Trouble with Words

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Summary: A collection of gems collected from all over, then shoehorned into the Buffyverse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > GeneralLancerFourSevenFR1515,0301337530 Sep 1330 Sep 13Yes
Trouble with Words

By Lancer47

AKA STFarnham

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is owned by Mutant Enemy and many of the following quotes are owned by other people.

A/N: I collect little nuggets from all over, including the web, books, conversations, etc, and I enjoy shoehorning them into the Buffy universe. I don't remember where they all come from, but I specifically want to thank the linguists at languagelog dot com, and the on-line editors at Mirriam-Webster for providing so much material for Giles and Dawn (and others) to argue about.

.



.

Cricket and Sensibility

Dawn was reading The Guardian, attempting to make sense of a sports article. She read one sentence over and over, and finally, in a fit of anger, shouted, "GILES!"

Giles looked up from his current tome. "Yes?"

"Look at this, this, nonsense! I can't make head or tail of it. You Brits just don't know how to write!"

"What are you reading?"

"Oh! This is some sports garbage. I thought I'd try to gain some understanding of the basics of Cricket – at least I think this is about cricket – but the writing here is completely impenetrable. Here, see if you can translate it into English for me." Dawn flung the paper in Giles direction.

"Now Dawn," Giles said indulgently, "cricket may seem baffling to outsiders, but really, it's easily understood once you pick up even a rudimentary knowledge of the rules. Then the your enjoyment can only increase as you begin to fathom the more ephemeral subtleties of the sport and thus grasp that it is a grand metaphor for the game of life."

"Oh come on, since when have you been any kind of sports fan?"

"Back in the day, in between wanting to be a grocer and a fighter pilot I became a little obsessive about the wicket. But my interest in games waned after I became attuned to the supernatural world. But, as long as there are no impending apocalypses, I occasionally take in a game. Why, I may even play in the Watcher's Cricket Club."

He picked up the flung paper and read the offending paragraph. He shook his head, snatched his glasses off and cleaned them furiously, and read it again:

"He and Eoin Morgan, who was within the merest smudge of a mark on Hotspot of being lbw to the second ball he faced (Aleem Dar, the third umpire may have heard a noise as well for it transpired that the inside edge was scarcely detectable by Snicko either), had added 79 in 73 balls for their fourth-wicket partnership when, having made 82, with eight fours, from 85 balls and with the testing total of two runs needed from 29 deliveries, he attempted the sharpest of singles to Brett Lee at mid-off, who flung down the stumps with the batsman still well short in his dive."

The Guardian, 2 July 2012

"Erm," said Giles, "perhaps the writer was having a bad day; certainly his editor was asleep." Giles studied the paper some more and finally exclaimed, "Oh, this is an Australian game! No wonder it doesn't make sense!"

"Nice try, no cigar," said Dawn, waving a finger at Giles.

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Sense and Nonsense

"Giles," asked Dawn, "do butlers butle? Why is it called 'putting out' when really it has a lot more to do with 'taking in'. Is ert the opposite of inert? How come 17th Century poets thought daughter rhymed with laughter? Is 'however' an adverbial conjunction or a conjunctive adverb and does it matter? And the phrase 'blow job' doesn't make any sense, unless I've been doing it wrong."

Giles shuddered and hid behind the London Times.

.



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Marmite, Take 1

Giles sat down in to the watcher's library in the middle of the afternoon and set a tray of snacks and a teapot on the side table, shifted around to make himself comfortable in a dark brown leather chair, poured tea into a cup, took a sip, and carefully spread some Marmite on his toast.

"Would you care for some Marmite on toast, Dawn?"

Dawn replied, "I don't like Marmite, and I'm glad I don't, because if I did like it, I'd eat it, and I just hate it!"

"Erm, so, is that a no?" asked Giles.

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Spelling

Giles strolled into the library in the new Council building in London with a fresh cup of tea and noticed Dawn making furious notes on a report, vigorously slashing through words with a red pen, mumbling comments like "prescriptivist piffle and drivel" under her breath, while adding proofreader's marks as well as comments in the margin.

"Dawn, what are you doing?"

"I'm proofing your report on the Lower Upsilon Demons the junior slayers ran into last week."

Giles started in surprise. "You are proofing my report?"

"Yes. Your spelling is atrocious, and your grammar seriously needs work."

Giles started to choke and turn purple. He stood up and said, "DAWN! My English is impeccable! You are surely mistaken! Here, show me what you're doing."

Dawn hung on to the report, keeping it back from Giles' grasping hands. "Look at this, you use -ise instead of -ize all over the place! It's not galvanise, it's galvanize! Realize! Recognize! Geez Giles, get a clue! This makes you look uneducated!"

"But Dawn, that's British usage. It's only in America that you use that vulgar 'z' so much."

"Nuh uh!" Dawn turned and grabbed a large book from a bookcase behind her. "You know what this is?" She didn't wait for an answer, "This is the Oxford English Dictionary. The repository of the very essence of British English, yes?"

Giles nodded cautiously, suspecting a trap but not seeing what it could be.

"This is volume 'R'." She opened the book and started flipping pages until she found the one she wanted; she said, "There, see that! 'RecogniZe is the preferred spelling'. See? See! You're wrong! The OED says you should've been using 'z' since 1923."

"Give me that!" he said with a scowl. He read the passage, then flipped the pages, getting more and more irritated. Finally he said, "Well this can't be right. This must some sort of fake publication; you and Willow ran up this box of cobblers on our expensive Xerox just to wind me up."

"Nopers. In Oxford, 'z' is preferred by the well educated. Here's the entry from the OED:

… the suffix itself, whatever the element to which it is added, is in its origin the Gr. -ιζειν, L. -izāre; and, as the pronunciation is also with z, there is no reason why in English the special French spelling should be followed, in opposition to that which is at once etymological and phonetic. In this Dictionary the termination is uniformly written -ize.

"Still, I'll admit you're not the only Englishman who spells it -ise," she said with a bit of understatement. "I mean, over in Cambridge they claim the 's' is preferred, though I'm sure they must be philistines. I mean, since I graduated from Oxford, I can legally look down my nose at them, right?"

Giles, upset and angry, ignoring Dawn, looked through the dictionary carefully, checking the publisher's page and making spot checks at random. "I can't believe this; I've been betrayed by a dictionary! The OED of all things, has let me down. How did I not notice this, this, travesty before now? Why did Miss Cockburn rap my knuckles with a ruler when I mixed up 'ise' and 'ize'? Why wasn't this in the curriculum at the Watcher's Academy?" He put the volume down and stared at Dawn. "I have been betrayed, I tell you, betrayed by a dictionary of all things." (1)

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Marmite, Take 2

Giles smiled as he spread Marmite on toast and took a sip of a recently acquired rare and very expensive Chinese tea. He sighed in contentment as the first few drops trickled over his palate.

"Giles?" asked Xander, "why are you spreading used axle grease on your toast?"

Giles sputtered, "This is Marmite, a delicious yeast extract made from beer leavings."

Xander said, "Bullshit, you can't fool me, a marmite is in the rodent family, they're related to marmosets and woodchucks."

"Xander," said Giles, "make up your mind. Marmosets are monkeys, in the family of mammals, while woodchucks are indeed rodents, as are beavers."

"What! Beavers aren't rodents! You're telling me the old mountain-men wore rat-hats on his head? I don't think so."

"Unfortunately, you are incorrect. Beavers are unquestionably members of the rodent family."

"And marmosets aren't monkeys! They're some kinda rodent, like scampering furry little marmites!"

"Would care for a wager?"

"Maybe I should check Wikipedia first."

"Wise of you, I'm sure."

.



.

Peeving

Dawn said to Giles, "We need to find a way to incentivize the new Watchers to complete their Journals. We're getting incomplete..."

"Dawn," Giles interrupted while shaking his head mournfully, "I am certain they didn't teach you to use such horrible constructions such as 'incentivize' at Oxford. Whether or not you spell it with an 's' or a 'z', it's a travesty of English – going around 'ising' random words – it's destruction, pure etymological destruction!"

"Giles, you're working much too hard to problemitize incentivize. I mean seriously..." she had to pause while Giles mimed upchucking into the wastebasket, "...seriously, would you prefer I use 'incent'? As in: 'We need to incent the watchers'? I don't know about you, but I dislike that construction far more than you dislike -izing it."

"How about 'reward'?"

"But I don't want to give them a reward for doing their job. I want them to complete their journal entries, which is what we pay them for. Rewards should be reserved for doing work above and beyond the call of duty."

Dawn paused for a drink of water, then continued, "You know Giles, -ized words have been around for at least five centuries, and whinging anathematizers like you have been complaining about the construction for all of those centuries. I did a quick scan of your own writing and came up with: realise, stabilise, characterise, economise, organise, sympathise – I could go on at length. You even managed your own invention at least once: I came across the word 'slayerise' in one of your own journals! Still, the funniest of all, in one of journals you used the word 'demonise' while referring to Buffy's use of language. You went on and on about about Buffy-izing English – you didn't write that, I'll admit, but it fits, right? – and about a month later you were, in fact, demonized! I mean, what else can you call being turned into a Fyarl demon overnight? If that isn't demonizing, then I don't know what is."

Giles opened his mouth, then shut it, and thought about it. Finally, he said "I, uh, erm, ah, perhaps I should complain less, but still, whether is has the Oxford 'z' or a far more civilized 's', 'incentivise' peeves me. I shall hang my head in shame and whip my own back – will that satisfy you?"

"No, no, don't do that. Let's get back to how we're gonna incentivize the junior watchers to do we want them to do." She paused to think for a few moments, then smiled as she said, "I know, I know! We'll 'happify' them! Is that better than incentivize, or what?"

"That can't possibly be a real word," Giles grumped.

"Sure it is, it was invented by Noah Webster. I'll admit it hasn't seen much use in the centuries since then."

"Fie on Noah Webster!" exclaimed Giles.

.



.

Jethro and Buffy

"Is Buffy a nickname for Elizabeth?" asked Gibbs.

"You don't have a lot of room to talk, Uncle Jethro. Anyway, 'Buffy' is my whole first name."

Gibbs asked, "Was your mother on drugs or something?"

"Hey, you don't have the right to diss mom like that. And besides, 'Buffy' is a perfectly good name, not at all uncommon. Why, all sorts of famous people were named 'Buffy'."

"Yeah? Like who?"

"First, there's 'Buffy Sainte-Marie', the famous Canadian-American-Indian folksinger from the sixties who's still singing and still active in civil rights today; and then there's, ah, uh, ummmm... Ahhh, well, I'm sure there must be plenty of other famous 'Buffys' in history."

"Oh!" said Xander, "How about ' 'Buffy' Wilson'?"

"Who?"

"You know, Tom Hanks' feminine alter ego on 'Bosom Buddies'."

Gibbs said, "I don't know if that would qualify as a famous person."

"What? Tom Hanks is certainly famous!"

"Yeah, but 'Buffy Wilson' was a fictional character," said Gibbs.

"And she wasn't even a girl," said Buffy.

"Humph," replied Xander. "Wait, I've got another one! Vladimir Putin's dog is named 'Buffy'!" He received vicious glares from both Gibbs and Buffy. "Yeah, maybe that's not such a good example."

"Oh look at this," said Willow, looking up from her laptop, "there's a famous animal trainer, works for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey, named Buffy Gebel. He, and this Buffy is definitely a guy judging by the clearly visible and distinctly male musculature under his sequined spandex, is the son of the even more famous Gunther Gebel-Williams.

"There's an actual real-life famous guy named 'Buffy'?" asked Buffy.

"Yeah," replied Willow.

Gibbs said, "I guess he must be pretty good at defending himself."

"You'd think," said Xander.

Willow said, "And let's not forget Buffy Chandler, the famous patron of the arts in Los Angeles!"

"Okay, she's famous, at least in certain circles," said Gibbs.

Buffy said, "Although her real name was Dorothy, Buffy was just her nickname."

"But it was short for 'Buffum', her maiden name," said Willow, "and they spelled it 'Buffie' back then."

"Really?" asked an incredulous Buffy, "Buffum?"

"Yep. Actually, you'll be lucky if we can find anyone else named Buffy where it isn't a nickname for something or other," said Willow.

"You're probably right."

"I mean, besides dogs."

"Yeah, thanks."

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Smart Horses

Dawn said, "We need someone really smart to make some sense of this paper. Someone well-versed in physics, so we need to call Willow or Fred."

Giles said with a morose shake of his head, "I've accepted your sister's butchery of English, it's just her nature. But you, you are an Oxford Graduate! Double Firsts, a D. Phil, an internationally renowned expert in linguistics and ancient languages. You should know better!"

"Precisely! I do know..."

Giles interrupted, "Dawn! You must be aware of how much I dislike the American use of the word 'smart' when used as a substitute for 'intelligent' or 'clever'. When used correctly, a 'smart' person is one who is well dressed.

"And therein lies my problem with 'American' English. It reduces, dumbs down, limits and thus renders the English language less – not more – articulate. It is simply not suited to the highest of cultural expressions."

"Well lah di dah, is the oxygen getting a little thin up there on your high horse?" snarked Dawn while flipping through a thick volume. "Now looky here Gilesy, the Oxford English Dictionary refers to the word 'smart' being used in the 'American' sense in, wait for it, 1628! Right here in jolly olde England! Your definition first appears in 1789!"

She stood up and started dancing the Dance of Etymological Superiority. She sing-songed: "My antecedent predates your antecedent by a century and a half, nyah nyah nyah!"

Giles savagely repressed his urge to kill.

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If I had known...

"If I had known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself," grumbled Giles.

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Culture

Giles said, "You see, the problem with you Americans is that you have no culture. And when you do come up with something as excellent as say, jazz, you don't appreciate it."

Without looking up from her current book, Dawn said, "Eurovision Song Contest."

"So, what's happening in Malaysia?" asked Giles, "Is that newly-risen hellmouth under observation yet?"

"You don't get to change the subject, you're the one who brought it up."

"Yes, yes so sorry, I am abject with remorse. How long do I have to grovel before you find some new way to piss on me?"

"Giles," said Dawn, "your level of quixoticity is incredibly competitive, so don't be throwing the first adverb."

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An Answer to a Grumpy Old Watcher:

"Giles, do I qualify for hazard pay when I have to open letters from bitter old Watchers who write things like this to me:

'Drink a cup of battery acid and eat broken glass, whore of Babylon!'

"Even though it is beautifully penned on very expensive paper, this is surely above and beyond the call of my duties. I mean, I've never even been to Babylon, much less prostituted myself! And why do these cranks blame me for the modernization of the Council?"

"Hmmm," said Giles.

"And speaking of battery acid, we're out of coffee."

Giles asked, "Did your corespondent supply a return address? Is it in England?"

"Yes to both."

"Then I suggest you reply in full as follows: 'We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram'." (2)

"Yeah? And what does that mean?"

"Look it up."

"Okay."

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Manifest Destiny

Xander walked into the Watcher's London Library holding his hand to his face, blood dripping from between his fingers and staining his shirt.

"XANDER!" said Dawn, "what happened to you? Demon? Mugging? Car accident?"

"None of the above, I walked into a glass wall."

"Uh, what?" asked Dawn.

Giles raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah, see there was a little sign on a post which read:

Please note glazed panel in the absence of manifestations. (3)

"I was puzzling out what the heck that sign could possibly mean, when I smashed into a newly installed wall of incredibly clean glass, nose first."

"Xander," said Giles, "that's what the sign meant: watch out for glass without attached notices."

"Well why the fuck didn't they write it in English?"

"They did."

"They 'bloody well' did not! 'Manifestations'? Really? I thought maybe I was supposed to look out for ghosts. And 'Glazed Panels'? The only thing I could think of was 'glazed donuts'. Why not say glass, or window? You people don't speak English in these crazy isles, it's some sort of gobbledygook intended to fool the tourists."

"You'll get used to our quirky signs by and by..."

"Yeah, if I don't get flattened by a two-story bus while looking left during an attempt to cross a street."

"To be fair, you're more likely to be flattened by a hackney. They dash about and tend to hasty lane changes, you see."

"Poor Xand," said Dawn, patting him on the shoulder while trying to staunch the blood with balls of cotton.

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Whom, who, what?

Example: He's the man who(m) everyone says will one day be king.

Dawn: "It should be 'whom', of course. The logical thing to do is to have the pronoun's case settled according to the clause the pronoun is actually in, and it's not the subject there."

Grumpy Old Watcher: "No, no, no, it's 'who'. The logical thing is to have the pronoun's case settled according to the clause in which the pronoun is understood to function."

D: "That's not logical at all; it's stupid."

GOW: "No it's not, you foolish girl. It makes perfectly good sense. I didn't realize how ignorant you are."

D: "Oh yeah? Don't call me ignorant just because I'm not buying your cockamamie, mystical, 'understood-to-function' bullshit rule!"

G: "Well you are stupid. And you're ugly, too. God, your head looks weird when you shout."

D: "Ha! You, calling me ugly, when you drive a car like that crappy old unbalanced piece-of-shit you drive, it's missing a whole wheel!"

GOW: "There's nothing wrong with my classic 3-wheel Morgan! You think you're cool because you drive a fucking Prius? If you're going to insult my automobile I'm going to have to ask you to step outside!"

D: "I'd happily step outside right now and beat the crap out of you, except that I wouldn't want to get my hands all dirty, and besides, I'm non-violent. But I can call my sister if you want."

GOW: "Well you're an illiterate and asinine asshole."

D: "Yeah, I bet you know all about assholes, given your rumored predilections…"

GOW: "You're a fuckhead, not a grammarian."

D: Stick it where the sun don't shine; and shut the fuck up!"

(Apologies to Professor Geoffrey K. Pullum, who(m) I paraphrased only slightly.)

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Pleistocene (?)

Dear Mr. Stebbins:

Thank you for your latest submission to the Watchers Council Research Institute, labeled: '93249-F, layer nine, next to fourth rosebush, pygmy Fyarl skull'. We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we respectfully disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of demonic overlords in the British Isles millions of years ago.

Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie Doll, of the variety that I believe to be 'Surfer Barbie'. It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loath to contradict your findings. However, we do feel there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off as to its modern origin:

1. The material is molded plastic. Fyarl remains are typically organic, when they can be identified at all.

2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately one cubic centimeter, well below the threshold of early pygmy Fyarls.

3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous demon-eating Pliocene oysters you speculate roamed about England in Pleistocene period.

In conclusion, as intriguing as your hypotheses is, I fear we have reluctantly rejected it, as your specimen is much more likely to be the head of Barbie doll that has been chewed by a Yorkshire Terrier. And oysters, even giant prehistoric ones, have neither teeth nor a means of locomotion.

It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the unfortunate fact that we do not possess carbon-dating equipment, as well as the chronological limits of carbon-dating. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon-dating of such recent items are likely to produce inaccurate results.

Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the Watchers Council Demonic Phylogeny Department with the suggestion of assigning your specimen the scientific name Fyarlithecus spiff-arino. Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected isn't remotely Latin.

However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the Watcher's Museum of Unnatural History. While it is undoubtedly not a demonic fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director, Dr. Giles, has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your back yard.

We eagerly anticipate your trip to our London headquarters that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing Dr. Giles to pay your lodging and expenses.

We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix that makes the excellent ascended demon digit you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 20mm spanner.

Yours in Research,

Dawn Summers, D. Phil.,

Chief Curator, Antiquities

(A/N: I paraphrased a few words, but didn't originate this. I can't for the life of me remember where it came from, maybe it was someone at the Smithsonian.)

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Confusion

Buffy sat down at her desk, sipped her morning coffee with a deep sigh, and looked at the first sheet in her 'IN' box:

ATTENTION ALL WATCHERS AND SLAYERS,

BY ORDER OF THE DIRECTOR

1] EFFECTIVE THIS DATE, STAMPED SIGNATURES MAY NOT BE USED ON ANY OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE.

2] EFFECTIVE THIS DATE, ANY ORDERS OR INSTRUCTIONS SIGNED WITH A STAMPED SIGNATURE ARE TO BE IGNORED.


The memo was signed by Rupert Giles, Director, ISWC. There was only one trouble with the memo. In signing it, Giles, or more probably his assistant Andrew Wells, had used a rubber stamp.

Buffy looked at the memo and at the signature.

Giles had clearly ordered that effective this date stamped signatures could not be used on any official correspondence. The memo also stated that any orders or instructions signed with a stamped signature were to be ignored.

Buffy was monumentally perplexed.

She sat back in her chair and read the memo again, and then she read it a third time, and tried to decide what he should do about it. Her deductive reasoning went something like this:

(1) Giles' memo had been signed with a rubber stamp.

(2) Therefore, the memo was to be ignored.

(3) If the memo was to be ignored, then the use of a stamped signature on official correspondence was still permitted.

(4) And if the rubber stamp signature was still permitted, then any orders or instructions signed with such a signature were not to be ignored.

(5) Therefore, Giles' memo was not to be ignored.

6) But if Giles' memo was not to be ignored, then it outlawed all stamped signatures, and since the memo had been signed with a stamped signature, it clearly was to be ignored.

(7) Therefore, Giles' memo was to be ignored and was also not to be ignored.

Buffy blinked, and looked up at the clock. Only two minutes had passed since Giles (or Andrew) started causing her indigestion. She decided to go out and buy a new pair of shoes.

(With apologies to Ed McBain, paraphrased from his novel: Blood Relatives)

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Pedantry

Xander opened the door while simultaneously shouting over his shoulder, "Get that asshole out of here!" He turned back and noticed both Giles and Dawn staring at him. He said, "Ahhh, sorry about the obscenity, but that guy really..."

"Stop worrying Xand," said Dawn, "I don't have virgin ears."

"Although," Giles said, " 'asshole' is better described as a vulgarity, rather than an obscenity."

Dawn frowned. "Well jeez, aren't we being pedantic. But I can't argue the point, you definitely know your assholes."

"Thank you … I think."

.



.

More Answers to Letters from Grumpy Old Watchers:

Dear Mr. Skeffington:

It is with heartfelt apologies that I must inform you that the Watcher's Council is not equipped to perform DNA testing on vampires and demons. But it's a really exiting idea and I shall certainly bring it up with Dr. Giles at my earliest opportunity.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Mr. Archibald Portsmouth:

Your recent correspondence inescapably reminded me of a quote commonly attributed to Voltaire: "I'm seated in the smallest room in the house. Your letter is before me. Soon it will be behind me."

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Mr. Archibald Portsmouth:

I am so sorry that my previous answer was so unsatisfying to you. Wait, no I'm not.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Lord Cumberthatch:

Thank you for your recent missive with information on your exciting new technique for performing cunnilingus.

Don't ever write to me again.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Honor and Saffron Hawksmoor:

Our facilities manager tried your formula for making authentic Olde English Furniture Polish; unfortunately he did his mixing and heating in our kitchen. After the firemen left we found that the coffee maker still works, so it wasn't a total disaster.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Ms Summers:

Is it true that Alexander Harris won a Ferrari in the Irish Sweepstakes?

Stewart Winterville

.

Dear Mr. Winterville:

In principle, yes. But first of all it was not Alexander Harris, but Andrew Wells; second, it was not the Irish Sweepstakes, but a lottery in London to promote dog turd scoops; third, it was not a Ferrari, but a classic English bicycle; and fourth he didn't win it, but rather it was hijacked at gunpoint from him.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Mr. (formerly the honorable) Chesterfield:

Oh grow up, prison isn't that bad, you'll get used it it, once you learn how to make a shiv you'll be fine.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Mr. Wrottesley III:

There are politicians in the European Union that I'm not particularly fond of either, but that does not mean that the Watcher's Council will blot them out of existence. I am sincere when I say that I am sorry to disappoint you.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

– –

Dear Lord Cumberthatch:

I warned you to never write to me again. Do you know how to croak like a frog? If not, you will.

Dawn Summers, Assistant Director

International Council of Slayers & Watchers

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.

Footnotes:

(1): I don't know how likely it is that Giles could have made it to adulthood in England without ever learning about the 'Oxford z', but I figure the Watcher's Academy had other things to teach.

(2): An unlikely piece of British legal history occurred in what is now referred to as the "case" of Arkell v. Pressdram (1971). The plaintiff was the subject of an article in the magazine Private Eye, relating to illicit payments, and the magazine had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell's lawyers wrote a letter to the magazine which concluded: "His attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of your reply."

The magazine's response was, in full:

"We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell.

We note that Mr Arkell's attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: 'fuck off'."

In the years following, the magazine would refer to this exchange as a euphemism for a blunt and coarse dismissal: for example, "We refer you to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram".

wiki/Private_Eye

(3) An actual sign spotted in London by an American tourist.

The End

The End

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