Mildly diverting things a clueless immigrant learnt this week: the unexpurgated edition

by awindram

  1. [tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false]Garbage disposals:
    Most American kitchens have a garbage disposal. This terrifying device, located where one might expect the plug hole, comes equipped with a motorized shredder ring that can rotate up to 1,800 rpm and could seemingly turn your arm into lean ground human in an instant. It’s as if all American kitchen sinks have the Grand Pit of Carkoon set in them – hmm, perhaps I could throw a Boba Fett action figure down there and recreate a scene from The Return of the Jedi? 
    I’m sure it’s not just me (at least I hope not) who when in a tall building or on a platform waiting for a train gets that awful, dark, compulsive thought that says, “why not jump?” Of course, you don’t and never would, but that thought is there – the imp of the perverse, as Edgar Allen Poe put it. Well, thanks to prescence of the garbage disposal, I now get that same twitchy thought when in American kitchens.
  2. The T.J. Maxx and T.K. Maxx mystery:
    Letter to the T.J. Maxx Corporation
    Dear Mr Maxx,
    Being an Englishman in the US, I was surprised to see your fine stores here go under the name T.J. Maxx whereas back in the UK they’re known as T.K. Maxx.
    Why the change for the UK? My friend Barry said it was because you outsourced the running of UK operations to your British cousin, Terry Keith Maxx, and he wanted to use his name rather than yours (Thomas John Maxx). That seems a little ungrateful of Terry if true. Still, it’s good of you to give him a job.
    Love to you and yours,
    A Windram
    Response from T.J. Maxx
    Thank you for contacting T.J. Maxx Customer Service.
    Unfortunately, the name “T.J. Maxx” was not available for use when we opened our stores overseas. Also, the initials “T.J.” and “T.K.” do not stand for anything. They are the brainchild of an advertising/marketing agency.
    We appreciate your inquiry.
    Further notes on the T.J. Maxx versus T.K. Maxx issue:
    For anyone interested, the best explanation I’ve come across for T.J. Maxx being renamed T.K. Maxx in the UK was to avoid any confusion that might arise themselves and the Liverpool-based discount department store T.J. Hughes. Now, if T.J. Hughes were to launch some stores in the US, would they have to be named T.K. Hughes?
  3. Wankers:
    So this week all hell broke loose when it was announced granny’s favourite Wayne Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United. The saga has now been resolved and he’s staying, but it had been a big, breaking story and the US-based Fox Sports headline for it was somewhat interesting. “Later wankers: Rooney has told Man U he’s quitting.”

It soon got taken down when the headline started getting roundly mocked on British news sites. Now, in my admittedly limited experience, I’ve found Americans, if they’ve ever even heard of the term “wankers”, seem to think of it as a cute Britishism on a par with “jerk”. Now, I’m personally not going to get out the smelling salts if somone uses it, after all we do tend to swear more than you fuckers, but “wanker” is probably more analgous to “douchebag”. And yes, it is true in certain contexts we’ll use it affectionately towards someone, but considering the British are more than capable of using the C-word at each other affectionately (“you soppy c–t”) it’s hardly that surprising. If “wanker” is used on television before 9pm, it’s almost certainly likely to result in viewer complaints, and it’s definitely weird seeing a NewsCorp media outlet use it.
Anyway, later wankers.