Communication.  Remember the old children’s game — Telephone?  One child would start the game by giving a phrase to the next child.  The second child would whisper it to the third, and so on so that by the time the 30th received the phrase they said it out loud and it rarely had any semblance to the original words.  “I love going to school” would end up “I love to shovel snow.

That was 50 years ago but times aren’t all that different today.

When we were working at the ad agency, one of the Account Executives was talking to a real estate client on the phone.  They were creating an ad on the phone.  Never a good idea.  The client was talking fast and instead of verifying what he said word-by-word, the employee was trying to get it all down on paper, hoping to sort it out when he got off the phone.

By the time the copy block got to me for proofreading, it said:  “It is unlawful to discriminate based on sexual prowess or emilio status.”  Say what?  Who or what is Emilio Status?

I knew what it was supposed to say and made the changes in red pencil. “It is unlawful to discriminate based on sexual preference or familial status.”

This guy obviously wasn’t the brightest bulb in the pack, but I think of the incident every time there’s a failure to communicate.

Oh — and that employee?  Someone said he was working for the Department of Transportation now.  Could be.