Daily Archives: August 16, 2007

unclear. to most people.

Communication is what I do. Or more precisely, it is what I studied. I have three degrees in communication, which means that I am still roughly three degrees away from everyone else in the world.

(Okay. I’ll let you catch up. three degrees plus three degrees would be six degrees. Nevermind)

Some days I work hard to be understood by as many people as possible. I work hard on explaining and describing and picturing and interacting. The message I have matters to lots of people and so I make it as approachable as possible.

Other days, it doesn’t matter that everyone understands me. In fact, on those days, I only care that one or two people understand. In fact, on some of those days I would rather that everyone else didn’t understand.

And so I speak in code.

You do, too. You have particular ways of saying things that have significance only to people who know you well. Anyone else listening in would be completely lost.

I’m not talking about facades or masks or any of that stuff. I am talking about being precise to a precise audience while everyone else is watching.

And some of you are trying to figure out what I’m saying here. So look at the picture.

This is a picture from my friend Becky McCray, taking on the street near where she lives. It is a street sign. It is visible to everyone who drives by. But unlike most of the signs we are looking at here, this sign is public, but intended only for a very small group of people. It’s probably about distance. It’s telling where something starts, obviously, but unlike a green light which tells everyone to start, this one doesn’t tell me or you or Becky or Joe anything about starting.

It is from someone to someone and the rest of us ought to and can safely ignore it.

Carol Burnett tugged on her ear. Jerry Seinfeld always referenced Superman. Jesus used this odd phrase: “for those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”

Sometimes we can send specific messages even in front of the whole world because it is important that the message gets through to that one person. We end up being completely committed to that purpose, because it matters so much.

Do you know what I mean?

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