Monday, 30 January 2017

I Beg Your Pardon

I Beg your Pardon ... 

(Mis)Communication Communique

     I have a fairly significant birthday happening in four days. I won’t disclose the exact number, but, let’s just say I’ve been around for several decades! That’s a good thing. I have found, as I advance in age, that people are not speaking as clearly and as loudly as they used to. Or, could it be my hearing? If it is hearing impairment, it seems to be happening to many others in my peer group. 

Speak Up!! Enunciate!!

      Recently, my room-mate and I were at a friend’s house for dinner. Tom and I were in the living room while our hostess, Jody, was tossing the salad at the island in the kitchen, about six feet away. Tom was explaining something to Jody, and made reference to her “nephew Mitch.” She slowed her tossing of the greens and said, “I beg your pardon, Tom?” He repeated his sentence and she laughed in relief. “Oh, my nephew Mitch. I thought you called me a Neptune Bitch!”

Neptune Bitch

     Later that evening, I was discussing knitting with another guest while Jody was again slaving away in the kitchen. Sula and I were talking about Fairisle knitting. “What is THAT?” Jody asked, rather incredulously. I explained briefly and she laughed. “Oh,” she said, “I thought you were saying Feral Knitting.” That conjures up a whole other image!

Feral Knitting

Fairisle Knitting

     Two weeks ago, my roommate and I participated in the historic Women’s March in downtown Fredericton. There was a live performance by a local singer. She introduced herself, saying she was going to sing “Ten Cents is Sexy.” At least that’s what I heard. And, to me, ten cents IS sexy. As many of you know, I do LOVE money, any amount. The singer was about four verses in, repeating the chorus, when I realized the title of the song was “Consent is Sexy” not “Ten Cents is Sexy.”

Ten Cents is Sexy

Consent is Sexy

      Along with miscommunication due to hearing deficits, we now live with miscommunication via texting. We have all experienced the autocorrect faux pas. Or how about hitting the wrong letter while texting or typing? I do like the story of a friend texting to her husband that she had arrived safely at the cottage, and she was all “tucked up in bed” except she hit the “f” instead of the “t”. In a similar vein, my teacher-sister was mistakenly labelled in the yearbook as Ms. Fukkerton instead of Ms. Fullerton. The “K” and the “L” are side by side on the keyboard, after all.


     And there is the time error when questions and answers get criss-crossed in cyberspace. Not long ago, a friend and I were texting about how much I would charge to knit her daughter a hat, while simultaneously discussing the cost of a plane ticket to Denver. My friend got the message that it would cost her $1,000 to buy a hat for her kid. Needless to say, I lost that sale!

Child's Hat: $1,000.

     One of my favourite forms of miscommunication is the malapropism--
"the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect.”  I never corrected my darling four-year-old Julia when she asked for a “red, malicious apple.” It just made perfect sense, considering the Garden of Eden and Snow White where the apple is, indeed, malicious.

The Red Malicious Apple

     And there is the example of my own childhood church malapropism. Until I could read with precision, when I sang along with “Take My Life and Let it Be, Consecrated God to Thee”, I was belting out “Take My Life, and Let it Be, Concentrated God for Thee.” But it works, too. Concentrating your life for God.

Concentrated God for Thee

     Ricky, of The Trailer Park Boys, is famous for malapropisms. They are commonly referred to as “Rickyisms.” Can you figure out what Ricky really wants to say in the following notable examples?
Worst Case Ontario
Eternity Test
Water under the Fridge
Rocket Appliances

Ricky: Far Left

     How many times have you communicated the wrong message simply because you were nervous? A friend of mine in university was uptight going into a job interview and, instead of telling the interviewer that she was doing two courses in intersession, she told him she was doing two sessions in intercourse. I’m not sure if she got the job.


     Another interesting miscommunication skill is the phenomenon of getting the initials correct but the names wrong. My roommate once met a man at a party named Dave Wagoner. Forever after, he referred to him as Dick Wheeler. D.W. Wagon. Wheel. See the connection?

Dave Wagoner/Dick Wheeler

     At times, my father exhibited this same "name/initial" mix-up. Upon his return home from visiting relatives one weekend, my mother asked him what one of our cousins had named her new-born. Granted, baby names were never of much interest to my father, so maybe he was not exactly attentive. He told Mom the baby’s name was Morning Dew, when in fact, it was Misty Dawn. Well, he had the right initials and the right concept.

Misty Dawn/Morning Dew

     Keep your eyes and ears open for Miss Communication! 

Miss Communication

… Until Next Time ...