“This is not what I signed up for”

中国日报网 2017-10-20 11:13



“This is not what I signed up for”Reader question:

When someone says “This is not what I signed up for”, what does it mean exactly?

My comments:

Basically it means they regret having previously agreed to do something.

Taken literally, it means that the speaker signed his or her name on the signature line in a contract or agreement some time ago but is now finding something wrong with it.

To sign up for something, you see, is to write your name down in a piece of document, meaning you’re formally committing yourself to an agreement, a contract or something.

Many social activities today involve a formal document including your signature. For example, you have to sign your name when you buy a house, a car or, to a much lesser extent, a washing machine.

Take the washing machine for instance. If you wanted a washing machine that’s fully automatic but then, after installing it in your house, you find out that the machine isn’t automatic at all, you may go back to the salesman and lodge a complaint making an exact statement like that: “This is not what I signed up for.”

After taking a further look, the salesman is able to see what the matter is. A simple mistake has been made, say, on the part of the delivery man – who sends to your house a machine intended for some other family.

Whatever the case, this is a literal interpretation of what it means when people say: “This is not what I signed up for.”

Metaphorically speaking, whenever some event turns out differently and unexpected, people may say: “This is not what I signed up for.”

Usually, they’re disappointed and regretful. As a matter of fact, they’re usually opposed to what’s unraveling.

Here are media examples:

1. The European Commission is pursuing dozens of legal cases against Britain for breaching European law in areas ranging from toy safety and tractor emissions to fresh garlic imports from China, The Telegraph can disclose.

The commission is taking legal action in almost 50 different cases in which the Government is accused of not following directives and other legal agreements.

If the Coalition fails to address the allegations made in the infringement proceedings, the cases could end up in the European Court of Justice, with the possibility of fines being imposed.


The specifics of each have not been made public, but critics complained of the burden placed by such cases on the Government’s legal team and asked whether the issues were important enough to provoke legal action.

A legal expert who spent more than a decade advising the Government said infringement cases can drag on for years, the most serious involving half a dozen government lawyers. He added that often it turns out that the commission has simply misunderstood the situation and the case falls through.

Douglas Carswell MP said: “This is not what we signed up for all those years ago … This is no way to run a country and it is running our country into the ground. We simply can’t carry on like this.”

- European Commission pursuing Britain in scores of law suits, Telegraph.co.uk, December 22, 2013.

2. Break out the ear plugs, Wrigleyville: there is nothing anyone can do about all the helicopters and planes flying over the stadium during the Cubs postseason run, which continues Wednesday night — or any other time of year.

So says the FAA, which regulates aircraft but says it can't do anything about the noise.

“Thank you for contacting us to express your concern over the helicopter traffic in the area around Wrigley Field,” reads an email sent Wednesday morning to a resident who complained about the noise at 11 p.m. Tuesday during the Cubs-Dodgers game. “Unfortunately, the FAA cannot prevent helicopters from flying in the area if operated in a safe manner.”

That was harsh news to the resident, who compared the FAA’s response to the government saying “tough sh--.”

“I understand the pros and cons of living near Wrigley, but helicopters at all hours is not what I signed up for,” said the resident, who asked not to be named. “I live 5 blocks west of Wrigley and it’s so loud — I can’t imagine what it’s like for residents who live closer.”

- Helicopter Noise By Wrigley Driving You Mad? Nothing You Can Do, FAA Says, DNAinfo.com, October 18, 2017.

3. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a Florida congresswoman “fabricated” an account of the commander in chief telling the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in Niger that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson said she was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body of Johnson's husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when Trump called. Wilson said she and others heard part of the conversation on speakerphone.

When asked by Miami station WPLG if she indeed heard Trump say that she answered: “Yeah, he said that. To me, that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow.” She added: “That’s so insensitive.”

But in a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said Wilson’s description of the call was “fabricated.”

“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump wrote without specifying what proof he had.

Wilson stood by her account, telling CNN on Wednesday that “the president evidently is lying, because what I said is true.” Wilson said she and others in the car with Johnson heard Trump.

Escalating the criticism of the president, Wilson said, “He doesn’t even know how to sympathize with people. We’re grieving. This is a grieving community. ... It’s disgraceful for him to even tweet about this. And as I say, this gentleman has a brain disorder and he needs to be checked out.”

La David Johnson was among four servicemen killed in the African nation of Niger earlier this month. They died when militants thought to be affiliated with the Islamic State group ambushed them while they were patrolling in unarmored trucks with Nigerien troops.

Wilson said she did not hear the entire conversation, and Myeshia Johnson told her she couldn’t remember everything that was said when asked it about it later.

“When she hung up the phone she looked at me and said, ‘He didn’t even know his name.’ Now that's the worst part,” Wilson told CNN.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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