This post is essentially a continuation on an idea that I wrote about nearly a year ago. In that post, I considered connotation versus denotation, with respect to the phrase “out of town” as it relates to going between municipalities of a metropolitan area.
Well, this time I will start with a seemingly contradictory sentence. But first, a message if you are reading this from the Home Page/Archives:
If you just clicked here from Home Page/Archives, sorry, but this is NOT another radio post. Instead, I have a sentence that I have read before, and knew immediately that it was not a self-contradictory sentence:
Pass is not a four-letter word.
Well, by DENOTATION, it is definitely a four-letter word, unless you have some weird metric for what is a letter and what is not. Instead, the following image will make it clear to some people where pass is not a four-letter word by connotation:
Indeed. This post is about the connotation of “four-letter word” as it relates to contract bridge.
In the game of bridge, pass is the most common call in an auction. It does not necessarily deny a good hand. However, in some cases, such as when your partner has made a forcing bid, then PASS is a four-letter word, as it undermines partnership trust if you pass a bid that is forcing. (The laws of bridge make no stipulations on forcing bids, but all common bidding systems include forcing bids since bidding is a conversation.)
However, when partner has not made a forcing bid, or when you have a lot of points and the opponents are bidding, pass is NOT a four-letter word. Or, another time when Pass is definitely not a four-letter word is when the auction suggests the partnership has misfit hands. The advice of two experts that I follow:
Howard Schutzman (hondo717 on BBO): “If there is a misfit, stay low.”
Mitch Edelman (mitche on BBO): “When you’ve dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.”
There are some cases when, despite a good hand, you just have to shut up, or maybe have an opportunity to sic THIS card on the opponents’ auction when you have a balanced strong hand and their bidding has gone exuberantly:
Just watch out for the opponents spewing four-letter words later. Particularly if one of those four-letter words is: “DIRECTOR!!”
Why do I consider “DIRECTOR!!” to be a four-letter word? It violates the third of these admonitions on the score sheet side of convention cards:
“Always Disclose, Never Abuse, Don’t Intimidate, Practice Active Ethics”
It’s a matter of “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” I am not intimidated if the call is “Director, please.” (Another post may consider that penultimate sentence… it has definitely been a big thing that I have learned throughout my formative years.)
And of course, since my posts are usually G-rated, I will not send any stingers of four-letter words before the end of this post STOP
Today is the two-hundred and thirty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V. STOP That makes thirty-four weeks STOP
Today is the forty-third day of the Character Building Trial STOP That makes six weeks and one day STOP