Let Me Get This Straight

Problems in Communication, Episode # 1

By Jeff Salter

Folks, if you’ve followed me on Facebook, you’ve likely seen several examples of conversations in which one party is simply not getting through to the other. Some of these have been conversations I’ve overheard in public places (one of my favorites occurred in Hardees years ago), while others have taken place right here in Possum Trot.


I’ve occasionally confessed the identities of those individuals in Possum Trot, but sometimes I just leave it to your own imaginations.
Take this actual conversation, for example, from early January 2017.

She: Are you going to watch The Burbs?
He: On TV? Tonight? I didn’t see it listed.
She: It’s just starting… now.
He: Wonder why they’d change the lineup?
She: Maybe it was printed wrong.
He: Oh, I know. I bet they’re running The Burbs now because of Carrie Fisher’s recent passing.
She: Carrie Fisher was in The Burbs?
He: Yeah, she was Tom Hanks’ wife.
She: Tom Hanks was in The Burbs?
He: Duh. He was the star.
She: Hanks was in kindergarten when The Burbs came out.
He: Huh? What on earth are you talking about?
She: Are you going to watch The Burbs or not?
[He goes downstairs and sees the opening minute of the Hitchcock classic.] “Oh, you meant The BIRDS!”
She: That’s what I’ve been saying…

What about you? What confusions have YOU experienced in a conversation?

[JLS # 423]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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11 Responses to Let Me Get This Straight

  1. jbrayweber says:

    I think so many times each person thinks they say one thing but often the words don’t make it out the mouth. Therefore they think they said what they thought but didn’t. Causes a lot of frustration around my house. LOL

    The Burbs…I gotta watch that again. It’s been years!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    This happens more often than I like to admit! And it happens in both directions. Hubby has had problems with his hearing long before I decided to devote a semester’s worth of my teaching salary to pay for hearing aids. And since my mind is often on whatever I’m reading or writing, I don’t always hear what he says. As for specific examples, I’m afraid I can’t come up with any right now. I’ll probably remember a few right after I close my eyes tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      neither of us have hearing aids — yet.
      But my wife’s dad and her mother’s mom both were profoundly hearing-impaired.
      My mother has become almost totally deaf in the past few years.


  3. Cathy Fraser says:

    Have you read, “If I Understood You, Would I Have this Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating,” by Alan Alda? His entire book is about what you mention here. It’s completely fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ALL THE TIME, throughout my life, since my mother was very bad with names. (For example, we took forever to figure out who “Bill Poole” was when she was actually talking about “Bill Pond”.)
    My father was not the easiest man to communicate with. One day he came to my mother and asked about a certain check she had written. She had just taken in a friend’s Persian kitten that had quite a pedigree and said, “To register the cat.” “What?”, he asked. She said, “He’s a purebred, and I needed to register him to get papers so I could show him.” He said, “You registered the cat so you could show him.” “Yes”, she answered. He looked at me incredulously and said, “She registered the cat so she could show him the papers.” That was about 40 years ago and it’s still funny!
    When Joe-the-Husband was teaching, his students called him “The Absent-Minded Professor”. Just last night he starts in the middle of a conversation we had had with my niece an a hour and a half before. We were eating at Taco Bell after a mix-up in our order, so I had no clue that he was talking about a jacket and not about his chalupa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ROTFLOLACGU! Jeff, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what on earth “The Burbs” was. That’s too funny.

    Liked by 1 person

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