It's an article published in NYT about a psychological issue (living at the moment). Here's one of the paragraphs that I have a problem with:

So does the moment really deserve its many accolades? It is a philosophy likely to be more rewarding for those whose lives contain more privileged moments than grinding, humiliating or exhausting ones. Those for whom a given moment is more likely to be “sun-dappled yoga pose” than “hour 11 manning the deep-fat fryer.”

What does the last sentence mean?

  • "Hour 11" means "the eleventh hour" (of a long workday at McDonalds, say).
    – TonyK
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


It's sarcasm drenched in irony.

The author is saying that life is easier for some than for others. For the privileged few, any (given) moment in time will probably be similar to performing yoga in the sunlight under the shade of a tree. Sun-dappled is the play of light which is created when the sun shines directly on the leaves.

enter image description here

For others, life is much harder (duh). Similar to someone who works eleven hours a day, deep frying food in a fast food restaurant.

The verb man is defined by Oxford Living Dictionaries as

1. (of personnel) work at, run, or operate (a place or piece of equipment) or defend (a fortification):

  • ‘the helpline is manned by trained staff’
  • ‘the firemen manned the pumps and fought the blaze’
  • My favourite task was manning the chip fryer. The Guardian
  • I thought that maybe it's better to use ''11 hours manning the deep-fat fryer'' rather than ''hour 11 manning the deep-fat fryer''. ''hour 11'' means ''11 hours'' ?
    – Masih K
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 16:37
  • @MasihK I think that's the most likely explanation, and it fits with grinding, humiliating or exhausting . Are you sure you copied that last line correctly? You never know...
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 17:22
  • here's the link:(nytimes.com/2016/11/26/opinion/sunday/…)
    – Masih K
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 18:56
  • @MasihK thanks, it's copied perfectly. The article is very well written, I expected it to be filled with more platitudes than it actually is. I would modify my first two sentences, but no matter, I'm quite happy with the answer I supplied. I hoped it helped :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:03
  • @ Mari-Lou A sure it helped. specially you placed a relevant photo and cited sources.
    – Masih K
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 19:15

Since the author is referring to "a given moment", you can imagine the two phrases as captions beneath two different photos.

sun-dappled yoga pose

When I read this, I imagine a picture of a person doing yoga outside in a park, with the Sun shining on their face between the leaves of the trees (like in Mari-Lou's answer). Many people would consider this to be a "privileged moment".

hour 11 manning the deep-fat fryer

When I read this, I imagine a picture of person in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant, looking tired as they are in the 11th hour of their shift already. Many people would describe this moment as "grinding, humiliating or exhausting".

The author is using these two contrasting "captions" to convey the vast differences between the lives that different people lead.

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