Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Know What I Mean?

When was the last time you really understood the boiler-plate verbiage on the back of a billing statement, at the bottom of a rental agreement, or even on a receipt from a retailer?

Gobblety-gook, for the most part, right?

Ever read the fine print disclaimers on those e-mails you sometimes get? Another fine example of pomposity run amok with the encouragement of the local bar association.

I have a parody of this on my personal e-mail:

This e-mail is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information confidential, privileged, or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor, or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this e-mail is not authorized (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word absquatulation has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were either intentionally or accidentally harmed in the transmission of this e-mail. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that ALERT NOTICE from Microsoft (or from Apple if you truly are a creative person). However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this e-mail in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes.

Simplicity is the nectar of the gods when it comes to agreements...The Fixx had a hit song in the 90’s called “One Thing Leads to Another,” in which a line of lyric implored, “say what you mean, mean what you say; one thing leads to another…”

Would not our lives be a little less cluttered, a little more productive, if we would take that lesson to heart: clarity of thought leads to clarity of expression, which leads to clearer understanding.

I get that.

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