Is it the flatness or the large amounts of grass that gets you? ;)I soon received the reply,
Please tell me, is that flatness and grass a quote? You're not the first to say that.And that shamed me. The reason it shamed me is because of (what I have dubbed) "the piccolo effect". It is a rather queer phenomenon that I suspect we have all witnessed or unwittingly been a part of. My attention was first drawn to it some time ago when I stumbled upon a blog post from a musician. This musician played, I seem to recall, a saxophone, and took their instrument on the bus on a regular basis. Inevitably during their ride, a stranger who observed the musician struggling with the large case would comment, "Bet you wish you played the piccolo, eh? Haha." At some point the author had had enough of it and wrote a rather scathing post about how people who think they are making witty or clever remarks are rarely doing so, and it's better to just keep your mouth shut.
The most remarkable thing about this is that people who play a large instrument are asked the "piccolo question" an alarming number of times - cellists have particular trouble with it. It seems to happen in all geographic locations (although sometimes piccolo is replaced with flute or tin whistle) and be said by a large variety of people, each thinking they are making a smart remark. A Google search of relevant keywords turns up forums of people complaining of these piccolo remarks, and even a Facebook group.
When I was a teenager and my younger sister was in her baby and toddler years, people would invariably comment to my mother, "Oh, you have a built-in babysitter!". This was particularly strange because everyone who made a comment to that effect said the exact same words: built-in babysitter. If I had to guess how many times I heard that comment, it would be in the hundreds.
I think this is something which more people need to be made aware. It falls under the sarcastic, "Oh, I haven't heard that one before," but I think people don't realize how out of control it really is. There's a difference between someone cracking an obvious pun and someone making more of a creative leap in their remarks, and yet it seems that even the latter is subject to the whims of the collective (sub?)conscious. I would be interested in seeing what the equivalent of the "piccolo question" is for other hobbies and professions, so that I could do my best to avoid falling prey to the piccolo effect again.
I'm still kicking myself for it.