Knee Mail


GTRI Show: Knee Mail

Continuing our American church sign series, we observe that American churches will use their outdoor signs to announce scheduled events, share upcoming sermon topics, or give advice.  As a public benefit, church employees often post clever messages and give passersby something to think about and chuckle over.  This week’s sign is repeated below from the full television episode.  Do you get what's so funny?


There is a Christian tradition of praying on one's knees as a way of humbling oneself to communicate with a higher power--either to express thankfulness or request help from life burdens. Over history in general, many people would lower themselves on their knees to show respect for authorities (like kings, queens, or other high-level leaders).

What's So Funny?    

The expression "knee mail" sounds like email.  The sign is encouraging people to talk to God in a traditional, non-electronic way.  Even Americans who aren't religious will appreciate the cleverness of this word play.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.