Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
- Translation Relay
- Tactical Chiller*
- Skip the Wig Homer
- Mother Father Chinese Dentist!
- Don Stroud's Scar
*Tactical Chiller would be a good name for a hard-edged urban rap album. As opposed to hard-edged suburban rap, I suppose.
"Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" refers to the original problem of the "Translation Relay". School children on this side of the Atlantic are familiar with the "telephone game", where a simple phrase is whispered ear-to-ear down a line of a dozen or more people. The resulting phrase is then compared to the original, and the differences are often hilarious.
Beacuse I mentioned the Simpson's reference to the telephone game a few posts ago ("Purple monkey dishwasher") it reminded me of a couple of the original Translation Relay stories.
One account (certainly apocryphal) was turned into an early 80's Saturday Night Live sketch. Guest host Ed Asner plays a Nuclear Power plant technician at his retirement party. He leaves his co-workers the following advice: "Remember, you can't put too much water in the reactor."
In the months that follow, half of the technicians interpret this as "it is impossible to over-fill the reactor" while the other half translate it as "Don't supply the reactor with too much water." This leads, of course, to a hilarious meltdown. It is an understatement to say American comedy programs have a tenacious grasp of nuclear protocols.
An even more famous Translation Relay gaffe (and certainly just as spurious) comes from the supposed translation of the common phrase "out of sight, out of mind" into Russian and back into English:
ENGLISH: "Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind"
RUSSIAN TRANSLATION: "С глаз долой, из сердца вон"
TRANSLATION BACK FROM RUSSIAN: "Danger! Invisible Maniac!!"
I'm sure there are any number of sports pep talks, devotional messages, motivational posters or business analogies to be drawn from this little anecdote. I'll leave the personal application for you to decide.
I'm sure my paranoid schizophrenic readers have already taken this message to heart anyway.