There is this particular brand of disinfectant called Domex. The catchline/byline/moto/credo/trademark line whatever it is called on the bottle is “Kills all known germs dead” and there is a “TM” rising above the last letter in that. My first thought when I saw that was “Where should the comma be?” We could have a:

  1. Kills, all known germs dead or
  2. Kills all, known germs dead or
  3. Kills all known, germs dead or
  4. Kills all known germs, dead

1. hopes that all known germs will be dead by the time you use Domex. Hence, (Domex) Kills, (assuming) all known germs dead. Now I understand why airlines don’t allow toilet cleaning liquids. All the while I thought it was a class discrimination (we won’t allow janitors on this flight) but now I appreciate the concern. Seems like the Taliban investing in disinfectants is not to do with poor sanitory conditions in the Afghan caves and mountains.

2. is objective and assures the death of everyone though the partiality is towards known germs. Unknown germs will survive, thrive and cause another economic downturn. There is of course, no clarity about whether we can specify germs known to us. Either it is germs known to Domex or germs popularly accepted as being known germs. If only they let us add to the list, I have a long list of germs in people’s garb that I would love to see on their back with legs up in the air!

3. is less partial to germs. Germs and everything classified as germs will be dead and those who are known to Domex will be killed. Damn, that is surely not a good tone to have before the corporate party. Think of the invitation from Domex for their annual general body meeting: “All shareholders are invited; and then you will be known.” Again, I am not sure whether I can add to the list (well, after all I am paying for it).

4. is weird. We are assured that all known germs will be killed dead. Wait a minute! Can I be killed alive? Or killed into Hawaiin bliss? I thought the only option was to be dead when killed and stay dead (resurrection can be fun, too). That is what I think Domex is trying to point to us with a twinkle in their eye: Unlike other cleaning liquids our lab germs stay dead!! This is the great clue into the Case of Killed but Undead Germs (Nancy Drew Issue #666) and I am told they are filing a suit against Domex for giving out the ending.


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