Vickerstaff sniffed. Not a practical sniff, the kind that accomplishes something, but rather a histrionic sniff, the type that's for show, not smell. "Oh dear," he sighed as I entered his office. "It seems the hoi polloi are descending upon me en masse." "Sorry for the intrusion," I apologized, "but I'm here regarding this memo you wrote." "N'est ce pas?" "Yeah. I'd like to get a clarification of this: 'In sum, quid pro quo would be pro bono publico. The result of this study confirms plus ca change, plus c'est le meme chose, etcetera.' " Vickerstaff sniffed again. "And what would you like clarified, my bete noire?" "All of it." "My good man, it's all perfectly intelligible. Clarification would be, shall we say, a time- wasting faux pas." "Vickersnuff, has any . . ." "Staff. Vickerstaff." "Vickerstaff, has anyone ever suggested that perhaps you spice your conversation with just a few more foreign phrases than necessary?" "Never. And that is the dernier cri of this particular conversation. Good day." "Now hold on a second. Don't get your feathers ruffled --" "What a perfectly rustic turn of phrase. And you complain about my foreign interjections. Mon Dieu!" "I'm not complaining. The boss is. She wants you to start using more English instead of Latin, Greek, French and Sanskrit." "I only used Sanskrit once." "In any case, she asked me to pass on the word." "I tell you," Vickerstaff began with a protracted sniff, "ab ovo it has been fait accompli that salting one's language with exotic idioms makes for cosmopolitan conversation. Ergo, I have developed a manner of speaking possessing a certain je ne sais quoi that has made me the bon vivant of bons mots. So you can report back to our beloved supervisor that I'll not change, so she may as well assume a laissez faire approach to this apparent cause celebre." "I can see this is an idee fixe with you," I said. "Touche. See? You have it in you, as well." "Why, merci," I replied without thinking. "Hey, this is easy. Kind of fun, too. But we're going to be personae non gratae around here with the boss." "Think nothing of it. I've always regarded our resident maven cum gran salis, anyway. She lacks savoir faire, s'il vous plait." "You mean she's non compos mentis?" "In a word, jawohl." "Chacun a son gout, I always say," I said for the first time since college French class. "O tempora, look at the clock. My, how tempus fugit. I've got to be running. Look, Vickerstaff, I'll tell the boss about our tete-a-tete but I'd appreciate it if you kept my new-found interest in foreign phrases under your chapeau. Comprende? At least pro tempore, anyway." "I shan't give it another thought," Vickerstaff said. "Perhaps we could have lunch some afternoon, just a deux." "Sounds good," I replied heading out of his office. "As long as it's al fresco. See you later." "Carpe diem," he responded. "What's that one mean?" I asked. "It's 'have a nice day' in Latin."