Sunday, April 13, 2008

Two Worlds Collide - "Adam Has Been Called Up!"

One of the realities of my life is that I have friends and network connections in a number of worlds that are very different from each other. These disparate connections and friendships add layers of richness to my life that I would never want to change. But, that same multi-faceted dimension of my life can sometime lead to some interesting confusion and collisions. Just such a collision of my worlds took place in the past few weeks.

While I was traveling, I received an urgent text message on my cell phone. The message read:

"Adam wants you to know he has just been called up!"

I began to wrack my brain to figure out which of my many military friends may have just been told he was heading to Iraq. It was definitely a moment of anxiety. Then I began to realize that none of the people I know who are named Adam are currently in the military. So, I took a closer look at the text message and realized that it had been sent by the fiancee of Adam Pinaeult. Adam had been playing in the American Hockey League for the Syracuse Crunch, a minor league affiliate of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets.

With that new context in mind, I re-read the message:

"Adam wants you to know he has just been called up!"

Now I was excited! My friend, Adam, a young professional hockey player, was being called up to the parent club in Columbus for the last few games of the NHL regular season. That certainly bodes well for his prospects in the future as a potential rising star in the National Hockey League.

I am not sure there is a real morale to my quick story, other than to reinforce the reality of the principle of communication that the interpretation of words and content is dramatically impacted by one's frame of reference in hearing/reading those words and processing them. In the space of a few moments, the same words - seen through different mental screens of interpretation - took me on a journey of imagination from the sweltering heat and the danger of the sand box that is Iraq to the frozen surface and opportunity of an NHL rink. Message received is not always the same as message sent, especially in the realm of electronic communication in which tone of voice may not be readily apparant.


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