The importance of communicating clearly

    One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it. The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, “Good morning Alex.”

    “Good morning Pastor,” he replied, still focused on the plaque. “Pastor, what is this?” he asked the pastor.

    The pastor said, “Well, son, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.” Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex’s voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked, “Which service, the 9:45 or the 11:15 ?”

This joke puts me in mind of an attorney I know whose favorite word is “clearly”. In his arguments, nearly every point is prefaced with “Clearly the facts . . .” or “Clearly the law . . .” I am either not nearly as bright as this fella or he has some power of prescience beyond my mere mortal limits because the things that are so “clear” to him always appear to be in just the opposite condition or very ambiguous to me. It occurs to me that taking time to be sure each party is talking about the same thing would greatly reduce the frequency and duration of arguments in or out of court.

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