Tag Archives: communication

What I Meant

There is so much misunderstanding in the world today.  Some of it is because of different cultures, generations, nationalities, and ideologies.  In my case, it is sometimes because there seems to be a short circuit between my brain and my mouth.

For example, I have had a sore shoulder for months.  Two of them, in fact.  But, I don’t dare talk about my shoulders because I have a tendency to get mixed up and say I have a “shore soldier.”   I’d hate to have people think there was a beach invasion taking place.

When I worked in radio I dreaded the winter nights when snow showers were in the forecast.  I think it only happened once, but it’s embarrassing to be on the radio and say “show snowers” into the microphone.

As a little kid I thought detectives were very cool, and back in those days when buying toy guns for kids was still considered to be okay, I lobbied for a shoulder holster for Christmas.  Of course, it came out “holder sholster.”  A real detective would never call it that.

I’m not the only person with this affliction.  I knew a minister who couldn’t say the word “specific.”  It came out “pacific.”  That’s not so bad if you’re three years old, but as a spiritual leader, it wasn’t too impressive.

The worst is if you’re trying to command respect, but your brain-mouth communication falters.  And example comes from a mother I know who chided her kid for having a “smout marth,” by which, of course, she meant “smart mouth.”  It’s hard to be taken seriously when the child being chastised is laughing hysterically.

That reminds me of a girl I used to know that liked to sing the song with the lyrics, “give me a man who’s a stout-hearted man…”  It came out “start-houted” about half the time, but she kept singing the song anyway.

My father used to occasionally say, “Do what I meant, not what I said.”   That was an interesting approach to communication, but most of the time it was pretty effective.  The desire to understand can overcome the inability to speak correctly.

People say a lot of things that are untrue or hurtful or just plain dumb.  Saying the right thing wrong, as awkward as it can be sometimes, is better than saying the wrong thing right.  So, if I start telling you about my shore soldier, I ask that you not be a smout marth. 

You know what I mean?

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Social Media Mediocre

Some changes happen slowly, like losing one’s hair, trees growing, or children getting toilet trained.  Other changes happen fast – so fast that we have a hard time adjusting to them.  Weather can change that fast, as can the price of gold, stocks, and Beany Babies.

The last ten years has spawned an immense change in our lives, even if we haven’t participated.  That change is in the form of the electronification, if that’s even a word, of communication.

Ten years ago the term “social media” may have existed, but only among a fairly small group of people.  “Myspace.com” and “facebook.com” existed, but were both in the very early stages of acceptance.  Blogging – in essence, electronic newsletters—were coming into vogue.  Websites that gather news from many sources, like drudgereport.com, started in the mid 1990’s, but really took off during the Monica Lewinski scandal, which was first exposed by Matt Drudge.

Now, newspapers, magazines, and even radio and TV stations are putting a lot of resources into on-line identities.  Books are becoming a fading commodity as the Kindle and other forms of electronic publishing surge forward.  The closing of Borders bookstores is the most recent evidence of that change.

The social media, starting with myspace.com, facebook.com, and then twitter.com  seem to have shoved a lot of other media to the side.  The timeframe for dissemination of news and information – factual or not – has gone from days to hours to minutes to seconds, as tweeters send messages while news happens.

Thanks to Facebook, I get a little reminder every day about my “friends’” birthdays.  If someone is my real-life
friend, I should know their birthday – though I probably don’t, because I’m a guy.  Wishing a virtual friend happy
birthday seems disingenuous.  Although, it was nice last December when so many people sent those wishes to me.

To be honest, I am feeling left behind by a lot of this.  I don’t have a “smart” phone or an I-pad, and the thought of adding that technology to my electronic arsenal seems daunting.  I have a Twitter account, but wonder who cares about what I write, or how it could possibly matter.

I feel like an old man in 1910, shaking my fist at those darn automobiles, or shunning the telephone.  I’m sitting here in 2011 hearing myself use strange phrases like, “Would you like to Skype?”

I’m not a Luddite, but I wait with both enthusiasm and trepidation for whatever is coming next, and what the next thing is that will go away.

If you find out, send me an email, okay?

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Filed under 2011

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