If you’re as old as me, you’ll remember a time when verbal communication was simple. You just introduced yourself with a simple hello, or if using the phone, “Is that Steve?” and then said what you wanted to say. Now it’s much more complicated. You have to negotiate all kinds of intricate verbal checks and balances before you can say anything of any substance whatsoever. (I’m good too, and by the way, your house is burning to the ground and your children are stuck on the top floor. Can I help you with anything else today?)
Paradoxically, written communication has become much less formal. Instead of a “Dear Mr Morris, May I heartily take this opportunity to express my felicitous intentions to you,” you can just say “Hi,” if it’s an email, or dispense with any kind of introduction at all if texting. (Steve, we have an incredible offer for you today. Buy one of these useless pieces of junk and we’ll throw in some more free crap you don’t want!)
In fact everything has become less formal, with no ties required in business meetings and no clothing needed at all if you’re a teleworker. (Dude, I am totally not wearing any underpants while I write this blog.)
So why all this superfluous verbal interlocution when speaking? It annoys me no end. You wanna know how I really am today? I’ll tell you. I’m pissed off. I was happy before you called me with your inane gibbering, but now I’m just angry. How are you?
The problem is that I’ve turned into a grumpy old man. Well, I am pushing fifty, so it’s allowed. After all, when it comes to grumbling, fifty is the new seventy-five, so there’s no need for me to apologise about it. So if you have something to say to me, just say it straight out. Otherwise, put it in writing.