Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

January 2010

I worked with a consultant many years ago who was very bright and had two distinctive speech mannerisms. The first was quite annoying until something in part of your brain tuned out the fact that he said, “you know,” constantly.

For example, he would say, “You know, the lease on the, you know, computer is, you know, cancelable on, you know, 30 days, you know, notice, you know?” If you responded, “Huh?” he would repeat what he just said, even adding an extra “you know” or two, you know?

His second mannerism was to often respond to questions with initials. For instance, if you asked, “Who authorized the lease on the computer?” he might answer, “DK.”

You would then ask, “DK?”

He would respond “Don’t know.”

You try, “Should I try to find out?”

His reply: “DC.”

“DC?”

Then he would say, “Don’t care,” perhaps adding for emphasis, “D-K-D-C — don’t know, don’t care — you know?”

He’d love Twitter, don’t you think? Heck, he would have loved composing telegrams, dropping the “you knows” and inserting “stops.” Twitter is the new telegram. With telegrams you paid for each word, number, and punctuation mark, which is why the word “stop” was used to end often incomplete sentences — one paid the same for a mark or a word. Actually, “12 oranges” equaled three words, but “dozen oranges” or “twelve oranges” equaled only two words.

Twittering is free (near as I can tell) so you don’t have to count your words, just your characters — 140 characters per tweet including spaces, which is what you send when you’re Twittering.

(I can’t believe I’m doing this.)

I sent darned few telegrams in my day, and to date, no tweets, but tomorrow and for well into 2010, I’m going to try to tweet, twitter, whatever, but no texting, not even when I’m not driving. I’ve been through that Mario Brothers’ thumb-pain. No typing on my cell with thumbs!

So, you know, I’m going to learn this stuff, you know? (Forty-four characters in that sentence, you know?) Whew! Who knew it would take that long, you know? Jack Tenney. (Finally, 140 characters!)

Oops! Forgot to count the spaces! You know?