This weekend I had a bizarre conversation with a salesperson.
I had gone to a local shop to buy something crafty for a friend for her birthday. I knew this shop carried chenille pincushions in the shape of cupcakes and that was what I wanted to buy. I found one I liked and I went to the counter to pay. A man and a woman were behind the counter. The woman waited on me, while the man talked and flitted around the back of the shop doing stuff.
'Would you like tissue paper?' the woman asked.
'No thanks, I'm all set,' I answered.
'Isn't it weird that English speakers would choose to call it tissue paper?' the man said.
We stopped to stare at him. Total incomprehension on our part.
He screwed up his face so that he looked disgusted and gave a little shudder. Then with a sort of divine flash of intuition (how else can I explain it?) I got it.
He meant tissue, as in, human tissues, like 'tissue sample.'
I suggested mildly (and, to be honest, disbelievingly) that perhaps the paper was called 'tissue' before humans realized their bodies has tissues in them. He liked that theory.
I took my cupcake pincushion and left.
When I called my sister to tell her this story she did the audible equivalent of an eye-roll and said, “Only in Boston.” I asked her what she meant and she said, “C'mon, Random West Texas Dude is never going to talk to me about human tissue while I'm paying for something.”
Although Random Boston Dudes don't usually do that either. That may just be the prerogative of Random Pincushion-Selling Dude.