Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Overheard Conversation

I overheard a conversation in the locker room yesterday between a 30-something year old police officer and a senior man on the importance of education. It shows the education leads to articulation and precision in communicating.

Where the ellipses are (...), the space was filled with pauses, ums, and stumbling words.

Did you know Joe's nepwhe is going to Harvard? I'm impressed it goes to show how important education is. He's a smart kid.

       Yes, education is very important. It gives a person....  I helps a person... it makes a person....

Yes, education is very important because it... It helps a person that they have.... I agree with you. Education is important. It helps them to.... Yep, it's good for them....

      Yeah, as a police officer, I can see education is important.... It gives a person a chance to.... to.... to... It's helpful for a person. I can see that it helps a person get.....

Of course, I know what you're saying. It helps a person to really do.... to do better. to um um um. Education makes a person.... umm umm ummm

      Yes, you right. A person must go to school because it gives them....  yes, it gives them.... Don't you see... It helps them out.... It makes them able to.... Yes, I agree with you completely. Anyone should go to school if they can. It is really....  I see that as a police officer.

Yes, you know what the difference is? Joe's nephew reads. Anyone who reads will be educated. Some people can sit for hours and just read and it builds up their LSAT scores. Reading is important because...  um um um.... it teaches you how to read and you get a good LSAT score if you want it.

        Yes, I see people reading. Reading educates someone. It helps them to be able to... yeah, it's good for them.... Reading is important. I see that. It helps a person... um... um.... I agree with you. Gosh, I can't even think of the last book I read, but I enjoy it, if I like the book.

       God gives people certain abilities. Some people can go to school. I believe in God, by the way. God gave me the ability to lift weights and others have the abilities to go to school. I value my gift; Joe's nephew develops his ability to go to Harvard. That's impressive. I can see that education really matters. Joe's nephew will now be able to.... umm... umm. umm. Yes, he's going to be able to....

     You are right. He's gonna be able to.... I see that as a police officer.... He will be able to.... It's so good for him. Education is important..... He'll have lots of....  Education is good.


  1. The only difference between this and most people who would fill in the gaps is that they'd say something about getting a better job and making more money. That's why there are now people who write serious op-ed pieces measuring the success of colleges and universities by how much their graduates earn.

    Hardly anybody nowadays knows the true purpose of liberal education.

    1. I was biting my tongue. I just wanted to pipe in with something like "choices. Education gives people choices." The conversation went on far too long, but these guys were communicating through it all.

      It made me think about language moving from generalities to precision. When you can articulate what you are thinking or feeling, you give a person much more helpful data for them to truly enter into a dialogue. We seldom really have meaningful dialogue with many people.

      I think of a language like Arabic. The intended purpose was poetic and was designed to be generally helpful, but modern languages are best when they are specific with an enhanced vocabulary.