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While I was watching an episode from CSI Miami: Season 9, I heard Horatio Caine saying this:

You know, Ruben, separate from everything, separate from anything you can put down on paper or maybe even drive off a lot, is the value of a human life. And at the end of the day, that's all that really matters to me. I'm saying that if this baby dies, they're going to be finding pieces of you... all over Biscayne Bay.

The bold line wasn't clear to me. What is he trying to say? Why is he referring to "put down on paper or drive off a lot"? I don't get it. Please help me understand this.

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  • Who knows? To answer this might require a better knowledge of the series and this aprticular episode...you might try over at Movies & TV.SE. Jun 21 at 23:45

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Something you can put down on paper refers to something you can write down or draw, such as an idea, belief, bestseller, etc. When you put something down on paper, it's more permanent than if you had simply verbalized it. Some documentation:

What is another word for put down on paper?

To note or record in writing. Write, draw, or colour with a pencil.

Drive off a lot or drive off the lot refers to a new or used car you've just purchased. But probably a new car. If it had been "drive out of a lot," then it could have been an ordinary parking lot. But when you're driving a car OFF a lot, that means you're leaving a car dealer's lot with a car you've just purchased. Some documentation:

Why Does a New Car Lose Value After It's Driven off the Lot?

When you drive a car off the lot, you have agreed to pay the dealer a certain amount of money for the car.

So, he's saying that the value of a human life is greater than anything else we can think of.

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He's referring - not all that clearly - that you can't put a value on human life. "Anything you can put on paper" such as the deed to a masion... "drive off a lot" such as a brand new Ferrari... it can't compare to the value of life.

So many of us in the United States value money over anything and everything. There are thousands of examples, like... people will commit murder, end a life... just out of greed for a large life insurance settlement.

Best C.S.I. series by the way ;) my favorite. I may be biased though, as I'm originally from Florida. Still, C.S.I. Miami is my favorite. You got good taste! :P

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Anything you can put down on paper is (for example) any fiction, any non-fiction, any suggestion, any describable discovery, any mental state, any maxim, any musical notation, any mathematical argument; in short, any human concept describable by symbols on paper.

Anything you can drive off a lot is, by comparison, a very materialistic image. It refers to any vehicle that could be driven from a parking lot (a car dealer’s lot) hence it refers to a much desired automobile as a metaphor for all the material things that might be desired in life.

Thus, Horatio is saying that human life is worth more than ideas and worth more than material possessions.

An interesting logical issue arises, which for dramatically purposes should be ignored. Is human life more important than the idea that human life is more important than the idea that human life is more important … etc?

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  • Not a parking lot but a dealership’s lot- i.e., a new car...
    – Jim
    Jun 15 at 7:20
  • @jim thanks for that. I had in mind a dealer’s lot so am grateful for your precision.
    – Anton
    Jun 15 at 7:36

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