Jim came home, and found his wife lying on the floor drenched in sweat. Surprised, he roused her. It was not until then that he noticed she was wearing a parka and a mink coat.
Asked what she was doing, she blamed him groggily, “You kept promising to paint the living room for months now. So, I ‘ve decided to paint it myself.”
“It looks like you did a good job. But why are you bundled up so much?” asked Jim. “I’m not illiterate,” she boasted, “The instructions on the can said ‘For best results put on two coats.’ So, I put on two coats.”
On the can, the instructions were written exactly as she quoted. They meant that you could get the best results by painting twice. But the word “coat” used in that context was not in her vocabulary. The word meant only clothing for her. So, she did the painting with two winter coats on, and collapsed from extreme heat inside her. She did read the instructions, but couldn’t read the meaning of them.