Persons from the UK had a bit of fun with the NYTimes in responding to a query concerning “crimes” to which they had been victim in their native land. The following tweet, among others, appeared in The Guardian in mid-December:
Once I accidentally queue-barged a man in a supermarket. I apologised profusely for not realising they were in a queue. They then apologised for making a big deal about nothing. I then apologised for their apology. Then someone behind us apologised for asking us to move up.
There it is: assault by apology, a tort of courtesy. The low-hanging fruit here, linguistically, is “ ‘queue-barged’ a man.” The phrase “queue-barge,” new to me, is vastly superior to its USA equivalent “break in line” (“I broke in line in front of a man”). The felonious welter of apologies pursuant to the primary infraction is secondarily ravishing. It reminds me of the “thank you”s I had to endure in passing through the Heathrow security check: “thank you” for stepping a bit this way; “thank you” for holding my wallet during the body scan; “thank you” for raising my arms slightly during the scan; “thank you” for retrieving my personal effects; etc. etc. etc. At the end of the 10-minute ordeal I was exhausted from saying “you’re welcome.”
(c) 2018 JMN.