Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election cake

In our corner of Connecticut, election cake has evolved into a PTA-sponsored bake sale at the local elementary school where we vote. This sale has a reputation to uphold, and so a lot of the baked goods are not homemade but are, instead, purchased from (or perhaps donated by) bakeries.

This morning I skipped my usual breakfast at home, in anticipation of buying breakfast at the polling place. I spied a large assortment of bagels and, bagel provenance being of some importance to me, I asked where they were from. “Autobahn pane” was the answer. I took this to be the speaker’s best rendition of “Au Bon Pain” [“oh bawn panh” is the best I can do in rendering the French pronunciation for people who never took French; those who did will have to forgive me for that transcription] and found something different to eat.

I mentioned the “autobahn pane” to my wife, who had not overheard it; this reminded her of a local hospital where the coffeeshop concessionnaire is Au Bon Pain. What happens when a distraught family (one unfamiliar with French pronunciation) walks into the hospital to visit a sick relative and encounters a coffee shop that uses the word pain in its name?

Words matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Au Bon Pain thing was funny. It looks like 'good pain' if you don't know the meaning.

11:17 AM  

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