"Conversant with..."

One of the joys of life as I think I know it are the conversations I get to take part in. As an example:

The other day, I'm putzing with the computer while the wife works a puzzle in one of her books. The conversation goes something like this:

Wife: "What does 'SSN' mean?"

Me: (immediately): "'Submarine Nuclear'--an attack boat."

Wife: "I don't understand."

Me (still looking at screen): "It's a ship designation part of a Navy hull number. 'SS' for a diesel submarine, 'SSN' for a nuclear powered attack boat, 'SSNB' for a boomer."

Wife: "A what?"

Me (mind still in neutral): "'Submarine Nuclear Ballistic.' A boat that launches ICBMs."

Long silence. I finally look around and she is regarding me with a confused expression (well, maybe, a more confused expression than I usually seem to induce in normal people).

Me: "What?"

Wife: "I'm sorry, I just don't get it."

The penny drops.

Me: "What's the clue?"

Wife: "It says, 'Nine digit designation.'"

Me: "Oh." Oops. "'Social Security Number,' dear."

Wife: "Ah. That works."

I dunno, maybe I was in the business too long?

On another subject:

It's been noticed lately that cats are showing signs of being sentient. The cats maintain that they were from the beginning--they just didn't want to put up with a lot of stupid conversation.

Karina Fabian, a specialist in astro-nuns, gumshoed dragons, and zombie haute cuisine, asked me , "So why are cats lowering their standards now?"

Why are cats coming out of the closet at this late date? I'm not totally sure. Dorsey, our cat and the handsome guy at upper left, seems to operate on a "need to know" basis; so like a China watcher, I'm making a guess. It may be a case of "if you want something done right, you do it yourself." I'll let you know more as I find out, but at the moment, it's strictly a matter of reading around the edges.

27 August 2010: Feast of St. Ebbo. Battle of Plataea 479 BC, Battle of Long Island 1776, Federals attack Cape Hatteras 1861, first jet aircraft--a Heinkel 178--flies 1939, Mariner 2 launched to Venus 1962.

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