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Posts Tagged ‘confusion’

I’ve mentioned my job before, how it’s customer-intensive, call-center similar, et cetera.  One of the services that we provide is a voice-mail system, but it’s a video file instead of an audio file. As with most messaging systems, there is an option to mark a file as urgent. The caller will rattle off a message and I’ll interpret it. Upon completion, I’ll ask, “Would you like to mark that as urgent?” Apparently, this single question is enough to break down any semblance of intelligence in the human mind.

Most responses are, “Uh…what? I don’t…uh…”

I also get, “Well, it’s not really urgent. I mean, I need to hear back from him, but whenever they call is fine.” Thereafter follows a tale of confusion that I inevitably end up interrupting for the sake of time as eons have passed since I asked the fateful question.

And then there’s this: “What does that mean?” It’s not the word that confuses these folks (like the ones from the first response), it’s the method. At least, that’s what I think it is. I describe it as an urgent e-mail. You know, the red exclamation point sitting calmly beside the date/subject lines. That clears up the caller’s befuddlement and I’m usually told, “Uh…sure.”

Naturally, this causes me to wonder…many things. Is the word urgent an endangered species? Will I be relegated to saying really, really important instead? Would it be easier if I said time sensitive? Are answers to yes/no questions also on the endangered species list? Is our education system truly that dreadful? Has our culture suddenly become high context? Are we afraid to commit to an answer, causing us to hem and haw our way through a halfhearted answer until someone makes the decision for us? 

Basically: What the hell?

It occurred to me, then, that we don’t use urgent all that often. It’s a “danger word.” It sparks that fight-or-flight response in us. Adrenaline starts rushing when we hear it. Can we say negative association? Methinks we can. So, I re-examined those responses and I think I’ve come up with an idea.

In the first month of the Zombie Apocalypse, Group A will die horribly. They’ll react too slowly or not at all, which will result in their brains being eaten for hors d’oeuvres .

In the second month of the Zombie Apocalypse, Group B will die. Also horribly. They’ll know enough to seek shelter and shoot the zombies in the head, but they’ll become the main course for said zombies because they were too busy grabbing everything off of the grocery store’s shelves to notice that they were being hemmed in by the starving dead.

In the third month of the Zombie Apocalypse, Group C will die. Yes, horribly. These are the guys who have decided to wax philosophical in their last days: These zombies were once human, so maybe they can be saved. They’ll be gutted at their microscopes as they try to determine just how it happened and how it can be stopped. Their blood will be like chocolate syrup to the zombies they try to inject with various cures.

There it is, folks. Three months, give or take, and the human race is annihilated. Make ready.

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