Context matters. At work, I'm sitting in a new area with some folks who don't know me very well. Today, someone asked for some help making a decision. I didn't have an opinion, so I sought an executive decision-maker. That is, I stuck a finger into my pocket to fish out a coin. But instead of encountering any coins, my finger encountered only a hole in my pocket. My jeans... Uhm, I'm in a delicately-balanced laundry situation right now, wearing a pair of jeans poised on the edge of total systemic failure. Anyhow, I didn't have a coin. Thus, I had no fast way to make binary choices.
So I said, "I can't make any more decisions until I change my pants."
In context, this statement made complete sense. From the remarks of people sitting nearby, I learned that this statement also made complete sense out of context, but it was a different sense. I tried to clear things up, saying, "Well, I've got a hole in my pocket--", but this was, apparently, "Too much information."
Now I forget what my point was. Oh, right, context.
As for the book Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, it's a tongue-in-cheek pulp science fiction novella. At the time it was published, this might have qualified as parody--this was 1973. It was probably a good parody--Harry Harrison has written some good stuff. Nowadays, this book seems almost cruel--it pokes fun of works which have been largely left behind, kicking them when they are down. But maybe when this book was kicking them, they weren't down yet? I don't know.
Labels: book, interspecies diplomacy, personal organization