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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plain Speak

“I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

As we near Election Day on November 4th, we must try to keep things in perspective. I think the above quote does that very eloquently.

This piece of wisdom was lovingly done in counted cross-stitch, framed and presented to my father many years ago by a dear family friend named Eleanor.

She was poking Dad in the ribs. Because he was brilliant in so many areas, he could speak quite knowingly on many subjects. He was most always clear and understandable. If you didn’t understand what he was saying he would take the time to re-explain it until you got it. He was patient in that regard.

Dad could get frustrated with people who were not concise, who spoke as if they knew about something when they didn’t, or who deliberately muddied the waters with verbosity. He liked plain speak. If you said what you meant, if you said it clearly, if you said it honestly, truthfully, you had his respect. It didn’t matter who you were; a man with little education like Old Man Heber Thomas or his good friend, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, he treated all fairly who spoke fairly.

Dad was pretty much all about communicating. If you look at the history of the major jobs and hobbies he had in his life it becomes obvious. He was the SONAR man on subs before World War II, he built RADAR stations during the war, and he was the chief engineer for both a TV and a radio station. He was a ham radio operator, liked reading the dictionary and doing the London Times crossword puzzle in ink.

Let’s read that quote again.

“I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

I haven’t heard a politician yet who didn’t speak just like that.

Say what?

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  1. I totally agree!

    And then it gets into the whole stupidity of "that depends on what your definition of _____ is ..." ARGH!!!

    Cool cross-stitch too!

  2. Ah, yes, and wasn't it Dad who referred to the majority of our elected officials as "Political Decibels," - those gifted with ability of speaking very loudly while saying nothing at great length? Plain speakers they are not! (No wonder it's so hard to vote FOR anyone)!

    While you and I did not understand the language spoken between Dr. O. and Dad, it was obvious that they spoke very plainly to each other as there was never the hint of a misunderstanding between them. There are so many stories...

    How I miss Eleanor! Always loved her verbal jousts.


  3. I love that quote, Bish.

    To avoid arguements with her husband, a friend of mine says, "before I get mad at you, it sounded like you said ____ is that what you meant?"

    I try to remember this with my own dear hubby, but I have a short fuse when it comes to hubby and it's difficult to remain calm. I'm working on it though.

    Thanks for sharing. It reminds me that what I hear isn't always what people say.

  4. Funny quote. When I read it I thought it must have been uttered by a politician...

  5. I love that quote. I'm guilty of using the similarly politic "I know what you want to hear is ..... but....."

  6. Be on the look out for further A-Political commentary.

  7. I must, must, MUST send this one to my hubby! Great post!

  8. I wrote a training book for my company and I used that saying as one of the chapters...

    It was funny how the managers thought I had put it in there for the auditors and the auditors thought I had put it in there for the managers...grin...


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