Justice Stephen Breyer has been married to a British subject (wife Joanna) for more than 40 years, but he confessed recently he still does not comprehend Britishisms in language — or so he joked in a speech May 28 at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. Breyer said that when he is in London, he is still puzzled when he sees signs in the tube that say “mind the gap.” Breyer asked rhetorically, “What does that mean? ‘Take care of a well-known clothing store?’ ‘A hollow space between the ears?’”
Breyer continued, “And I still fall victim to differences in English manners. A friend, a British judge, showed me how he encourages lawyers to end a lengthy argument. He turned to the lawyer before him and said, ‘I’ve understood your point, Counsel, to the best of my ability.’ The lawyer replied, ‘Very good, my Lord,’ and he sat down. So I tried it in America. ‘I’ve understood your point, Counsel, to the best of my ability.’ The lawyer looked up. ‘Well then, your Honor, I guess I’d better repeat it.’” Ba da boom.
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