Though I have instructed them that it is not funny, my children like to joke that when I first went to work in the auto industry, "General Motors was still a Colonel." I've long since departed that corporation's employ over a dispute involving my need to make enough money to buy food, but the other day I discovered I was still storing several boxes of company memos from that era, my favorite being one that ended, "If you did not receive this memo, please notify the sender via inter-office reply."
Leafing through the sacks of three-part forms, I began to wonder what it would be like if my family used this cryptic method of communication to talk to each other, instead of the usual shouts and threats. A typical exchange with my thirteen-year-old son might go like this:
Upon recent inspection, it was determined that the driveway is completely obstructed with a material identified as snow. You are directed to remove said snow from said driveway immediately. Please acknowledge via inter-office reply.
Subject: Driveway Reply
You talking to me?
From: Your rapidly losing patience father
Subject: You bet
Yes, I am addressing you. Please turn off the television and immediately proceed to shovel snow until the driveway is cleared.
From: Wrongly accused son
It is not television it is PlayStation.
From: Judge, jury, and executioner
Subject: Quit Stalling
Whatever. Turn it off and get to work.
Subject: Totally unfair and stupid
It is unfair for me to have to shovel the snow because yesterday I had to take the trash out to the curb which isn't my job.
From: The man who pays the rent around here
Subject: Quit messing around and get to work
Son, yesterday it was I who put the trash out, not you.
Subject: So what?
Yeah, but you TOLD me to put the trash out, and that's not my job.
To: Department of Irrelevance
Subject: Stand up, put on your boots, and walk out that door
I want you out there shoveling NOW.
To: The big jerk
From: I always get picked on
Subject: Makes no sense
It makes no sense to shovel the snow. If we leave it alone, it's just going to melt anyway.
To: Mr. Spring Is Just Around the Corner
From: I'm looking at a calendar and no it isn't
Subject: This is not open to debate
I need to go to the store. You must shovel the snow in order for me to do so.
To: Mr. Scared of a Little Snow
Subject: Yeah, to buy BEER
You have four-wheel drive. I can't believe you're being such a wimp, Dad.
To: Do you want a spanking?
From: I also need potato chips
Subject: It doesn't matter why I am going to the store
Son, stop stalling and get out there or you will be sorry.
To: Why don't you pick on someone your own size if you can find someone that FAT
From: I can't wait until I grow up and move out
Besides, the snow was put there by God. Who am I to defy the will of God?
To: The boy who will be shoveling snow in one minute or you'll wind up
grounded with no television
From: The department of even more creative punishments if you're not careful
Subject: Appeal denied
In the absence of a written memo from God, I am the person who decides whether the snow stays in the driveway. Who are you to defy the will of me?
Subject: Okay, I'll do it
Okay, I'll do it. But first I need to eat lunch.
To: The one who is going to be even more hungry if he's not careful
From: The man who BUYS lunch
Subject: You're right
You're right; by the time you get to it, the snow WILL be melted.
(Utilizing this method of communication, is it any wonder that General Motors built the Chevrolet Vega?)
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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 2001
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Submitted By: W. Bruce Cameron
Mar 13, 2001 13:26