Believe it or not, I use this line from "The Little Red Hen" regularly, especially when asked whether I am responsible for something. It's just my way of saying "Not me!" The phrase is also mischevious and playful enough that a good deal of ambiguity remains, especially when I inflect my voice a certain way. Thus, the interrogator is torn between my words, which say "Not I" and the twinkle in my eye that says "Me! Me! Me!"

It is in this way that I make an official denial while coyly suggesting that I might be lying. Then again, maybe I'm not.

You'd be amazed how much mileage can be coaxed out of a single, simple phrase.

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