"Eating or smoking is prohibited on the trolley".

Sure, but which one? Can I eat, or can I smoke?

Nitpicking is prohibited on the trolley.

It’s so unspecific, though! I never know whether I should light up or pull out a pack of fruit snacks.

Either, but once you start on one, that’s what you’re stuck with.

Fantastic! Thanks for clearing it up. I’ll have to print out this thread to use as clarification in case anyone accosts me for my decision, of course.

Sure. Glad I could be of assistance.

You are not permitted to smoke, but you ARE permitted to burst into flame.

Even if it said “Eating and smoking are prohibited” it would still be problematic (if I’m munching a Big Mac but not indulging in a cigarette then I’m clearly not eating and smoking). Isn’t logic fun! :smiley:

You’ve got it wrong. You can’t eat or smoke, so as long as you do both at the same time you should be fine.

Light up that fruit snack!

::wistfully:: If only they’d let the lawyers write a sign…

Neither eating nor smoking are permitted on the trolley.

Do not eat or smoke on the trolley.

No eating or smoking on the trolley.

See? Piece of cake.

Can’t you read? It said no eating on the trolley.

Actually, “eating and smoking are prohibited” would mean that you can’t eat, or smoke, or eat and smoke. “Eating and smoking is prohibited” would only mean that you can’t do both at the same time.

No, it’s OK–he’s smoking the cake.

Nah, it would be more like:

Subject to the exceptions and mitigations codified in volume 2, part III, section 9, paragraph 12 of the Municiple Uniform Transportation Code of the City And County Of San Francisco, occupants may not indulge in the following forms of consumption while the vehicle, as defined in volume 1, part ii, section 17, subsection 4, paragraph 18, is in operation:

[indent]1) eating, inclusive of the following actions:
[indent]a) incising,
b) piercing,
c) lacerating,
d) ruminating,
e) masticating,

  1. the forced inhalation of noxious or intoxicating substances produced via combustion.[/indent]

Penalties for the activities indicated in the previous section will be applied per volume 4, part IX, section 9, paragraph 2…[/indent]

…and so forth, all printed on a placard 5" x 3", located on the underside of the second to the last bench on the left hand side.


San Diego.

I… I don’t know what to say. That is sheer artistry. I am in awe of your talent, sir. No formal legal training, you say?

And the ambiguity of “ruminating” – am I not permitted to think on the trolley? Stunning. Simply stunning.

::Campion turns away to wipe a tear from her eye::

Not a day of it. I have, however, seen all episodes of the first four seasons of Law & Order plus the pain of having to read through endless patent applications and amendments in a previous job. Now, I have to look through Technical Reference Documents and Primary Initial Development/Design Specifications, which make me long for the days of merely reading through intangible legalese.

As you are well aware, ambiguity is the key to the continued functioning of the legal system, particularly in regard to product liability. If you can’t spend a six hour long hearing arguing over the meaning of “shall” versus “will”, then how can you justify charging your client for the $100/plate plus 3 martini lunch you just had?


As the great George Carlin would point out, it’s clear what the rules are on the trolley, but what are the rules involving eating or smoking in the trolley?

[George Carlin]Get on the trolley? Oh no my friend. Fuck that. I’ll let Evel Knievel get on the trolley. I plan on sitting in one of those chairs. It seems less windy.[/GC]

That’s gold! So if I sit on top of the trolley, can I smoke my lunch?