Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Know You Could Spend Half a Day Wondering Whether This Is a Question (. ? . ? )

This morning, Ted found one of those hanging brochure thingies on our doorknob. The first sentence:
Know you could chase down the guy who left this on your door.

It's an ad for Gold's Gym, the message being that if I signed some centuries-long contract with them, I would be able to leap tall leaflet-hander-outers in a single bound. (They don't mention whether I would also look good in one of those Gold's Gym muscle tank-tops, and by "good" I mean "as ridiculous as all the other human knots who wear them.")

Anyway, we spent some time noodling over the intent of the sentence. At first, I thought it was a truncated question:
Did you know that you could chase down the guy who left this on your door?

But on the brochure it ended with a period and not a question mark.

Then we wondered whether "know" meant "now," but that didn't make sense either.

In the end, I found my guiding light some "Simpsons" dialogue. In an old episode, shyster lawyer Lionel Hutz is struggling to stay sober. He calls his sponsor, David Crosby, who says: "Just take it one day at a time. And know that I love you."

In other words, it probably means "know THAT you could." (There's nothing wrong with dropping a "that," unless by doing so you create enough confusion that it ends up on some stranger's blog.)

Know that I could, if I wanted to, find my way through life without "The Simpsons." It would just be a lot harder.

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Debbie Diesen said...

This might be saying the same thing as what you're saying, but I would interpret the sentence start as the spoken verbal filler "you know" carried over to the page (absent the "you" and the comma).

June Casagrande said...

You know, that may be exactly what they were getting at!

The important thing is that they're not promoting negative stereotypes of the overly beefy. No, wait. They are.

: )

Unknown said...

How about if we go around town hanging this sentence on doorknobs:
Know you could write more clearly if you had an editor.

June Casagrande said...

: )

(And laying off the steriods couldn't hurt, either.)

Adrian Morgan said...

I guessed at once that it meant "know that", but I detect a mismatch of registers. The imperative "know", however well established the context of love, just feels out of place in the context of advertising. (There are differences between love and advertising, particularly where motive is concerned.)

Speaking of The Simpsons, I was recently reminded of this article:

June Casagrande said...

Know that I care.
Know that I'll always be there for you.
Know that you're a unique and wonderful person.
Know that Gold's Gym is offering, for a limited time, half-price memberships to anyone man enough to bring in this knob-hanger.

I see your point.

Also: I had no idea Stephen Hawking was a "Simpsons" fan. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that. (I sometimes worry that my own fixation -- I could probably recite at least half the lines from that particular episode -- doesn't reflect too well on my own intellect. Take THAT, American Idol viewers!)

Adrian Morgan said...

I don't watch The Simpsons, except once in a while by accident. If I happen to catch a moment of it, and it happens to be a good episode, I'll keep watching. I think the quality varies a lot; sometimes it is excellent and sometimes it is awful.

The episodes I like are generally the ones with fantastic themes such as killer robots. The episodes I can't stand tend to be the ones that focus mostly on people and relationships, and could almost happen in real life. Also, Marge is annoying, and the less she appears the more I like it.

June Casagrande said...

That's exactly what my husband says about Marge.

For me, it's less about quality and more about addiction. Mental comfort food, for which I'm a glutton. I'll watch many of the worst epsidoes over and over (though there are some that even I don't want to see).

Adrian Morgan said...

Implication: You are not Marge.

That is nice to know.

June Casagrande said...

Ha! Good point. (Though I do believe I could pull off the hairdo.)

: )


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