February 26, 2010
You know how sometimes you look at a once-familiar word, phrase or sentence and it suddenly seems incomprehensible, like it's written in Swahili or Urdu?
That happened to me a couple of nights ago as I was on the plane back from New York staring dumbly at the screen of a passenger seated a couple of rows ahead of me. My neighbor was watching an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm on the in-flight TV service and Larry David was gesticulating in his usual over-the-top fashion at some other guy in front of a theater box office.
All of a sudden, the words "Will Call" came floating into view. Being a frequenter of box offices on an almost daily basis myself, I never pay much attention to these two small words. But seeing them on screen the other day gave me pause for thought. What on earth does "will call" actually mean? And where does the phrase come from? It makes very little sense to me in the context of a box office. A sentence like "I will call you tomorrow" uses the words in a normal way. If anyone out there can shed light on the etymology behind this phrase, I'd love to hear from you.
PS More travels ahead: Lies Like Truth is going on hiatus for ten days or so. I will be blogging again from March 9.