Bringing the Text to Life
A tourist collected a few of the signs in English that monolingual Americans traveling abroad must contend with. In an airline ticket office in Copenhagen, there is this promise: "We take your bags and send them in all directions." A Swiss restaurant announces to its customers that "Our wines leave you with nothing to hope for." A rather severe Acapulco hotel posts a sign assuring its customers that "The manager has personally passed all the water served here."
But my favorite is a sign spotted in Paris. One of the city's finer hotels invites its visitors to "Please leave your values at the front desk" (Taken from unpublished remarks by Jeanne M. Fox, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, Region II).
It is not that we have lost all our values -- more likely, they have become so small and so compact that we can easily tuck them away in a convenient overnight bag and check them at the door. When it seems "appropriate" or "comfortable," we can quickly...