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Friday afternoon polls... - Sally's Journal
October 17th, 2014
05:22 pm

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Friday afternoon polls...

Knives as presents...

...I'd never do that because of the superstition
1(0.7%)
...I'd do that, but make them pay a penny
7(5.0%)
...are fine
42(29.8%)
...I know about the superstition
28(19.9%)
...I'd never heard of the superstition
28(19.9%)
...are a bad present for non-superstitious reasons
8(5.7%)
...ticky knives.
27(19.1%)

I used to be bad at remembering my Dr's name, but now I have a 'Dr Foo' it's easy! I just need a Nurse Bar...

I got that joke
38(29.7%)
I didn't get that joke
11(8.6%)
I got it, but it's not actually funny
16(12.5%)
Most people would get that joke
2(1.6%)
That's a really niche joke
13(10.2%)
You hang out with too many geeks
20(15.6%)
Ticky-bar
28(21.9%)

(31 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:the_alchemist
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
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I wanted an option for "that's a *slightly* niche joke".
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
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Poll options in 'not being well chosen or piloted' shocker ;-)
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From:the_alchemist
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:33 pm (UTC)
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Though now I'm wondering what population we're comparing "people who get that joke" against to see if it's niche. Everyone in the UK? English speakers on the internet? Everyone in the world? People I know? I think I was thinking of the last of these when I said 'slightly niche'. Maybe 'really niche' is right.
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From:didiusjulianus
Date:October 19th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Now that WAS funny.

(By the way I need your stats foo. Is it available?)
(Deleted comment)
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From:kaberett
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:29 pm (UTC)
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(The reason I think knives-as-gifts are a bad plan is that I'm sufficiently picky about my knives that anyone who buys me knives without checking with me first is running the risk of me really hating them.)
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Yes, that makes sense.
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From:chess
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
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The reason I think it is a niche joke is that my Dr's surgery does in fact have a Dr Foo, so the joke I'm seeing crosses over 'people who know metasyntactic variables' and 'people who know there is actually at least one Dr Foo in Cambridge', rather than only the former...
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
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Are we at the same Dr's?
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From:chess
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Probably :-) Red House Surgery.
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:48 pm (UTC)
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Yep :-)
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From:ghoti
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I have made that joke :) also, Dr Foo is lovely and was the doctor I saw when we were ttc Judith, he was so happy when later I took Judith to him for something.
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
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Dr Foo is lovely. I mean, if it's the same Dr Foo. If not, there are at least two lovely Dr Foos :-)
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From:simont
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
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I thought I vaguely recalled seeing a poll about the knives question before – and my archive of LJ comment notification emails told me that it was also by you! But of course I get to give different answers this time because now I definitely have heard of the superstition. :-)
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From:atreic
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
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I had a lot more readers in those days! Ah, the demise of LJ is a bit sad, really...
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From:wellinghall
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:56 pm (UTC)
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It is ... :-(
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From:bloodofareptile
Date:October 17th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
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My memory is so awful that I reported never hearing of this superstition either time.

I've since bought three knives/sets of knives as presents.

I don't think I've bothered to look up what is supposed to happen...
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From:alextfish
Date:October 20th, 2014 12:39 pm (UTC)
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Ditto. I'm not really surprised that I forget superstitions that I've heard of once three years ago, though. I just need to change my stock phrase from "I've never heard of" to "I don't recall hearing about", because this does happen to me quite a lot...
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:51 pm (UTC)
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Re knives, the same response as last time -- It rings a bell now you point it out, but I'd completely forgotten and wouldn't otherwise think of it. Obviously it also depends if someone wants a knife and you're good enough at choosing one, but that applies to most presents. And you need to make sure it's wrapped well so there's no chance of injuring yourself opening it, but I don't think that's hard as long as you don't do something silly.

WRT the joke, I didn't get it at all until I read the comments because I assumed "Foo" was a standin for something else, and I didn't realise it was their actual name. I'm still not sure if I'm missing something, "person has surname which is also a common word" doesn't seem very.. joke-y... :)
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From:beckyc
Date:October 17th, 2014 04:55 pm (UTC)
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The Dr Foo joke makes me very uncomfortable, because on the one hand, out-group laughing at surnames commonplace in cultures Other Than One's Own is racially problematic.

However, on the other hand, doctor jokes are funny because doctors are of a significantly higher social status than me, and it is generally OK to laugh at people who are of higher social standing, so that does alleviate some of the middle class angst.

Tell me I'm not the only one that gets torn like that?
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From:kerrypolka
Date:October 17th, 2014 05:17 pm (UTC)
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I think it depends on what you're laughing at. If you're laughing at an Asian doctor for something doctor-y, like having bad handwriting, that's different than laughing at an Asian doctor for something Asian, like having a non-Western surname.
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From:ghoti
Date:October 17th, 2014 05:27 pm (UTC)
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I see where you're coming from, and it's true that I would never make a joke like this referencing a doctor I didn't respect (of which there is more than one at the relevant practice).

In this particular case, it felt less like a joke at him and more like a joke at me, iyswim.
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From:ringbark
Date:October 17th, 2014 07:40 pm (UTC)
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I'm slightly conflicted by this, and don't generally do name jokes. But I would rather you told name jokes in the absence of the person with the name, because his/her/my name is precious to him/her/me.
But I did used to have a doctor called Mina. Well, actually, more highly qualified than a doctor, so that he once again was Mr Mina. If you didn't find that funny, you're saying it wrong.
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From:atreic
Date:October 24th, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
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Yes, you're right, a joke that boils down to 'Foo is a funny name' is probably a racist joke :-( I don't think I'm torn because it's OK to mock doctors, I think I'm torn because I like the opportunity to make a niche geeky joke, which is in tension with Not Wanting To Be Racist. (Except it wasn't, because I wasn't being very aware, and didn't notice it was probably racist)

What is a joke that boils down to 'Foo* is a funny name' when Foo isn't from a out-group culture? I mean, it's not _racist_, if I mock a doctor for being Dr Death (as that's an old medieval English surname)... Maybe the moral of the story is 'don't make jokes about other people's names, it's rude' even if they're funny... or just do it to very small groups of evil people in private with 'I know this is terribly mean, but also funny!'

* The meta of using Foo as the metasyntactic variable in this sentance when it was actually the original concrete example is not lost on me...
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From:kerrypolka
Date:October 17th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
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Is it to do with FUBAR? I don't associate that phrase with doctors specifically.
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From:requiem_17_23
Date:October 17th, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
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The default name for a metasyntactic variable in some circles is $foo. If a second one is chosen, it is $bar. This is a relatively widespread meme in those circles to the point that if I hear 'foo' I will think 'that's a metasyntactic variable' and be on the look out for a 'bar'.

You're correct as to the etymology, but it's via CompSci.
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From:smhwpf
Date:October 17th, 2014 08:40 pm (UTC)
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You left out the "My grandfather was stabbed to death with knives that had been given to him as a present, you insensitive clod!" option.
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From:ceb
Date:October 17th, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC)
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I have had two separate Dr Watsons in my life.

I know about the knives thing in that if you remind me of it I go "oh yeah that is a thing isn't it?" but it's not really in my everyday consciousness and I wouldn't think of it when buying someone a knife.
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From:livredor
Date:October 17th, 2014 09:18 pm (UTC)
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I don't believe in the superstition, but my family always do the pay a penny not to cut the friendship thing, so I'm kind of attached to it.
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From:hairyears
Date:October 18th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
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The 'pay a penny' thing is completely new to me - Today I learned something new!

Aside from that, I'd never buy knives as a present: people we know are very particular about kitchen stuff and our present would never be *exactly* right.

Also: what if they cut themselves? Scars and stumps are not the reminders of a friendship.
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From:mair_aw
Date:October 29th, 2014 10:04 pm (UTC)
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I (came belatedly to the poll and) ticked ...I know about the superstition ...I'd never heard of the superstition which is a compromise to say, now you mention a superstition to do with knives i vaguely recall once knowing that there was such a thing but could not tell you how it goes and it never would have occurred to me had you not, you know, asked.

i would give penknives as presents in appropriate circumstances but can't really think of a reason i would want to get someone a kitchen knife.
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