Great Googly Moogly! 12 May 2011


Admit it; some words or phrases are just better than others.  This is one of the most important things to understand when writing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a business proposal or a letter to grandma; to force the right impression, you have to use the right words.  Yea, I’m pimping my writing skills right now, so hang in there sunshine. 

As a writer, I fully understand that the right words are important.  It’s when we don’t think of this that we get into trouble.

Here’s an example:

When I was a kid, my parents raised rabbits.  Rabbits aren’t bright animals, but they do have a certain perspective on things.  I like to call this perspective “rabbit logic”.  You see, when a rabbit is in a cage and it wants to hide, it simply turns its back to you.  The rabbit can’t see you, therefore by rabbit logic, you can’t see the rabbit.  This isn’t true of course, but hey, it’s a rabbit with a brain the size of a walnut.

So one day, way back in 1998, when I was stationed in Japan with VS-21, we had a First Class Petty Officer who shall remain unnamed.  The thing about this guy was that he was a LOUSY Leading Petty Officer.  He had a thing for stereo equipment and the young airmen quickly discovered that the fastest way to get out of work was to get into a discussion about audio gear with their LPO.  Other than that, he was cool.

One day, the division chief was looking for our illustrious hero LPO.  The chief popped his head into the work center, looked around real quick then went on looking around the work spaces.  The problem was that this chief didn’t tell any of us he was looking for our leader, who was sitting in a chair in the corner catching some shut eye.

The chief popped in again and again, each time looking more frustrated than the last.

Finally, one of us asked him what he was looking for.  “I’m looking for AT1 ______” he says.

Immediately we all point to the object of his quest, who was still sleeping soundly in the corner.

The Chief yells our LPO’s name, and he jerks awake.  The chief asks where he’s been, and we all inform him that he’s been here the whole time.  To which I (stupidly) comment- “That’s okay chief, you didn’t see him because his eyes were closed.”

This would have been an innocent enough comment if our LPO wasn’t a man of color.  I immediately tried hopelessly explain “rabbit logic” to not only the chief, but the Leading Petty Officer that would be writing my performance evaluations.  I wasn’t very successful, but it did teach me a very important lesson on the power of using the right phrase and the right time.  I hope this helps you in some small way because this lesson has served me greatly over the years.

Frank

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