Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's the Hittite for "Oops"?

In my third year at university, I had my first meal in an Indian restaurant, all new and strange to me. The waiter asked me if I had enjoyed my meal, and I said yes, I particularly liked the crunchy dark pieces. “They are cinnamon sticks, sir, you are not supposed to eat them.” Oops.

I went quite regularly after that, and one evening got into conversation with a man at the next table. He was rather wild-looking, florid face like a farmer at harvest time. It turned out he was doing postgraduate work on the Hittite civilisation.

“In fact,” he said rather smugly, “I'm the only person in the world who can speak fluent Hittite”.

“Oh,” I replied. “Then, who do you talk to?”

Abrupt end of conversation. Oops.

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