Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IMís, etc) (11/04/10)
- TITLE: Youíre Killing me Smalls
By Debbi Wainwright
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I heard the door open and slam over the blaring fire alarm in the small 2 bedroom apartment I shared with my friend Sue, an African Grad student. I knew the slamming door indicated Sue was upset and I should quickly stop the fire alarm. There was no fire; I was cooking dinner. Everyone joked within the apartment complex about the sensitivity of the smoke alarms. We nicknamed the alarms the boy who cried wolf. I turned off the stove and began waving my arms in front of the alarm to clear away the invisible smoke. Sue joined me in my efforts to quite the alarm, so we could talk about what had upset her. Once the alarm silenced, Sue and I set down and she told me about how she had made a mistake in chemistry lab and the lab tech replied: "You're Killing Me Smalls". Sue was upset because she grew up in a small village destroyed by civil war and even though she had seen lots of killing she had never killed anyone. In addition, her name wasn't Smalls. I had seen Sue's full name written on correspondence it looks like a word jumble to my American eyes. How she decided to be called Sue was a mystery I'll never know because I didn't ask. In the same why Sue was not a name you could get from the word Jumble that was her name you also couldn't get Smalls. I told Sue about the little boy in the movie the Sandlot and the phrase, "You're killing me Smalls" was used to indicate frustration but had no reference to her killing anyone and the lab tech didn't think her name was Smalls. I explained to Sue by the lab tech using a quote she was unfamiliar with he hadn't effectively communicated his frustration and how humors he thought her mistake was. We had a laugh, finished cooking dinner together and got into an enlightening discussion about communication.
As English was Sue's second language and sometimes the way I communicate it seems like it is my second language too, we referred to the dictionary for help. It was some help but Sue and I agreed that to communicate there must be a set of rules either implied or agreed to establish the foundation of the communication. Examples from the previous paragraph will help illustrate our findings. I knew when I heard the door slam that Sue was communicating she was upset. We knew the fire alarm was crying wolf because we couldn't see any smoke. I'll never know why Sue was called sue because I didn't communicate to her that I wanted to know. And of course the Lab tech's movie reference caused much anxiety for Sue because she hadn't been told about Smalls' Sandlot.
One of the things I really loved about Sue is we could never just leave a subject in the hands of the dictionary writers. We had to pick it apart, add other pieces, and put it back together. As time permitted we took communication apart and hitched other words to it then discussed how the hybrid fit our initial hypothesis. Since Sue and I were roommates in the late 80s we didn't even think of a combining Cyber Communication. But, I'm sure Sue and I would agree that the same standard applies. And guess what the World Wide Web Consortium agrees.
What the World Wide Web Consortium doesn't take into account is the synergetic affect Cyber Communication combined with Communicating with God and fellow believers has on spreading the Good News across the world. If Sue and I had email address I'm sure we would still be in touch. As we both have moved several times since we last saw each other at graduation, I'm still hopeful I will find her on "myface", classmates.com or some other find a lost friend site. If we were communicating I'm sure the quote from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar would come up, "If you'd come today you would've reached a whole nation. Israel in 4 B.C. had no mass communication." We would laugh about how back in 1973 the word nation would be world because the word mass would be changed to www. However, it doesn't matter if you're Adam and Eve, Peter or anyone else; to communicate with God you have to open yourself up to learn His language. This requires reading, studying the bible and Faith.
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