Sunday, April 11, 2010 v13.0

©2010 By David Talbot

The Readers Digest is one of my favorite publications. It contains a lot of information presented in a condensed format including “How to” tips for dealing with many everyday annoying situations.

So, I’m flipping through the pages of the August 2009 issue, during a biology break today, and I come across “How to Get a Person on the Phone” on page 97.

This article is a list of little things a person can do to defeat the automated answering services of virtually every company, service, and governmental organization in this modern world. It’s what comes right after “Press 1 for English……”

I won’t repeat the entire list of suggestions, just one: “Swear. Some systems put anyone who is using profanity at the front of the line.” My mind jumped to George Carlin and his routine of the 7 dirty words you can’t use on TV. I wondered which ones the author may have contemplated? I also wondered who may have programmed profane words into the answering software so that it, a machine, would recognize the vocalizations as profanity in the first place?

We seem to be living in an angry, profanity infused world these days. I can’t go to any mall or shopping center and pass by a group of teens and not be astonished by the crude and insensitive comments I hear come out of the mouths of these kids. And that’s from the girls!

Facebook, and other social networking sites, reveal posts crammed full of four letter words that make me wonder if our society has sunk into the depths of depravity rivaling ancient Rome. Teens, boys and girls, sending text messages of themselves engaged in sexual conduct (Sexting) is the new fad. These digital recordings are posted on You Tube where they have a world wide audience.

So, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that The Readers Digest is recommending profanity as a way to get somebody’s attention. But given the state of our society, I don’t think that anybody would really notice, not even an answering machine.

Anyway, that’s my opinion.


David Talbot

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