On paper in a stall

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Wed Jun 7 04:27:45 UTC 2000

I'll come to Don's defense with a bit more contextualizing. While I
certainly observe the usual taboo Ron mentioned about communicating in
public toilets (something we don't teach in ESL or anywhere -- ask Pinker
or Chomsky how we learn from negative evidence), I believe I may have
actually once heard the line, "Do you have the paper?", when sitting in
one side of a two-stall outhouse, supplied with only one roll of toilet
paper. (For you urbanites, perhaps "outhouse" may need interpretation.)
        I could imaginatively contextualize the line to refer to "the
newspaper", in a dorm or somesuch where it was the custom to leave the
morning newspaper in the bathroom to be perused by occupants whiling away
their time on the john, so that the appropriate presuppositions were in
        Interesting to introspect on how we understand utterances at all.

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