Creative Use of Language Dept.

The Kansas City Star reports on local health code violations at area restaurants. The citations by the health department come in a sprightly variety, from

Found a dead roach under a display case.

Or

Raw and cooked meat on the same tray

To

Kitchen manager failed to wash hands after throttling a busboy, then resumed preparing egg salad.

One of those may have been made up by me.

In the interest of fairness, the paper routinely asks a manager or owner for comment, and those comments generally come in two styles — a simple

The owner had no comment.

Or something a little more fancy-footworkish like

We take very seriously the safety and welfare of our customers, and we are confident that all the problems have been addressed, and we look forward to having the health inspector back in the restaurant as soon as she stops shaking.

In one case, the reporter said

A manager discontinued a call asking for comment.

I wasn’t in the room or anything, but I imagine that this was a polite — non-actionable — way of saying “The manager hung up on me.”

In these tense times, I have a feeling that an ever-larger portion of the nervous workforce is adopting a keep-your-head-down-and-cover-your-behind posture. I should point out that, depending on your job description, such a posture may be a violation of the health code. You do what you have to do.

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