Author Topic: Please explain from ABOK #3825!  (Read 2490 times)

vladimir3722

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Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« on: February 27, 2013, 02:13:49 PM »
Hi all!

In ABOK #3825 it is written:

"When timber on a strange shore failed to grow at the water's edge, hammocks were slung by "wooding and watering parries" from oars that were lashed together. With miasma, serpents and cannibals  to contend with, a sailor couldn't be too careful."

Please explain the last sentence: "sailor couldn't be too careful". Sailor was bad or good when was too careful? Careful means cautious, particular, accurate, full of care, attentive or anything else?
Vladimir

Gordias

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 06:05:56 PM »
That phrase is used when the risk isn't always obvious or acute, and may not even exist at all.

For example it might be used to response to someone claiming you've built a shelter that would be adequate defense against an angry bear, but in territory that has nothing more dangerous than deer and elk :)

If you re-read the text, you'll see that he means that the sailors assumed the worst based only on the fact that the trees didn't grow down to the water's edge.  I suspect it's an indirect joke about sailors - despite their competence on the water, they're perhaps a bit nervous and overly cautious when "out of their element" on land :)

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 06:17:27 PM »
Please explain the last sentence: "sailor couldn't be too careful".

Somewhat contrary to the prior reply,
this means that there were sufficient dangers such
that any reasonable level of carefulness would NOT
be too much!  (Whereas building a super-strong shelter
in an area devoid of serious threats WOULD be excessive).

--dl*
====

ps:  "I could care less", now, is a commonly misstated expression
for "I could NOT care less".

vladimir3722

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 03:37:25 PM »
Very interesting points of views contrary to each other! Thank you for help.
Vladimir

TMCD

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 04:29:37 PM »
Dan's reply hits the nail on the head. Ashley is simply stating that there were many dangers or threats around and that a sailor had better have eyes in the back of his head...meaning be VERY careful.

Gordias

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 02:19:45 PM »
Perhaps I should clarify my original post ....

I've heard that phase used many times, and it always parsed only one way - the literal meaning being something like "it's better to be extra careful in case of unknown risks, than less careful and run into unforeseen problems".  I think the other poster and I agree on this.

Where I assumed there could be ambiguity is how it's used in this particular case, and that's what I suggested to OP.  90% of the times I've heard this phrase used, it was as the "semi-standard" good-natured defense after a joke about over-doing something - and in the context of a joke the effective meaning shifts a little, to what I said in my first response.

I haven't read an ABOK in over 20 years, so I can't check the context - perhaps there's something earlier about sailors preferring to sleep in hammocks on land because it's what they were used to on sea?  Anyway, I remember Ashley making quite a lot of wry comments, and I thought this is probably one of them, based on the assumption that he wouldn't seriously suggest a hammock hanging from crossed oars (or between two trees for that matter) would be much of a defense against cannibals :)

I could be wrong of course, but I'd need to read ABOK to know for sure.  They're not easy to come by here, but I'll add it to my shopping list.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 02:29:44 PM by Gordias »

vladimir3722

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Re: Please explain from ABOK #3825!
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 06:41:00 PM »
Gordias, thank you. Very good explanation, finally i got it...
Vladimir