DEAR MISS MANNERS: A professor in our department took leave in order to give birth. When we heard the happy news that a baby girl had been born, I commented, "I wonder if she plans to bring her in?" Of course, it is always exciting to see a new baby.
One of our colleagues replied, "She already HAS brought her in," clearly meaning that the lady had come in to the office while still pregnant. This colleague is known to be the only fundamentalist Christian in the building.
I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or to make a political statement. I was stunned into silence. Is there anything one could possibly say to something like this?
GENTLE READER: Given the choice between treating it as a joke and running the risk of hearing a full discussion of this person's beliefs, Miss Manners would manage to produce a weak smile. And she might add, "But I didn't have a chance to chuck the baby under the chin!"