A. Pretty stupid.
Q. What's the deal with people who tell the same stories over and over and you can't stop them? Like, they'll go, "One time, I was at this salad bar . . . " And you interrupt and say: "There was a scorpion in the broccoli. You told me already." And they go: "Right. So I was getting some broccoli . . ." And they keep right on going! It makes me crazy.
A. This is why Mister Language Person carries pepper spray.
Q. Do you have any suggestions for "small talk" to make with the bereaved at a funeral?
A. You can't go wrong with: "What's that smell?"
Q. Is it time to coast to the end of the column with examples of effective language usage sent in by alert readers?
-- Sandy Frey sent in an Easton (Md.) Star Democrat story about residents of Oxford, Md., complaining about loud rock music, with one resident quoted as saying: "They had no right to go boom, boom, boom in my ear in that honky-tonk fashion."
-- Melba Glock sent in a story from the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star headlined "Volunteers needed to help torture survivors."
-- Katrina Wing Clark sent in a correction published by the Rutland (Vt.) Herald stating: "A story in Friday's Herald incorrectly quoted a biologist as saying salmon were among Vermont's roadkill. The quote should have been 'salamanders.' "
-- Art and Bill Hall sent in an Indianapolis Star item headlined "How to handle the cold weather." It begins: "Stay warm."
-- Frank Florio sent an obituary page announcement from the Watertown (N.Y.) Times that states: "To Everyone and Anyone who was in any way involved in my husbands passing, a Heart Felt Thank You."
-- Gerald Harvey sent a story from the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune headlined "Midwest storm blamed for Wisconsin."
-- Susan Anderson sent an item from the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press headlined "Homeless man improves after car runs into him."
Got a question for Mister Language Person? Just boom it in our ear in a honky-tonk fashion.