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Bob Thomas



24 Aug 2009


I was watching a skateboard competition the other day and it dawned on me that everybody has their own language.  I’m not talking about English, Spanish, Swahili, etc., I’m talking about vocational language… know….the language you use on your job.  I call it “workspeak.”  Whatever your job, I guarantee it has its' own special language (terminology).  For instance in football, the quarterback will call a play that might sound like this: Trips right, X flag, Z62 overload fly on 2.  WHAT?!?  In radio, the Program Director might say: “Only sweepers in & out of the stop set, no talk” or “Go into the break with the frequency & the positioning statement, give one thought and come out…’s ok, not to hit the post.”   WHAT YOU TALKIN' BOUT MAN?!?  Of course, lawyers and doctors have their own workspeak ............and that's on purpose.  The average person has no idea what either of them is talking about.  When you read a prescription or go to court, you're so lost, you look like a deer in headlights……and the Police…..child please….”the perp is charged with two counts of B & E and violation of code 1026.  We'll book 'em at central processing, then take a 1012."  All workspeak is confusing but I'm telling you, skateboard workspeak is on a whole nutha level.  I was totally lost watching the skateboard competition.  It made me think……suppose your doctor conversated (no such word) in skateboard workspeak?  For instance, a man visits an urologist.  After being examined, the urologist says, “I’m sorry Mr. Thomas, you have a frontside fakie."  Oh my God!!!….. doctor, doctor…..what are you going to do about it? "Well, we can do an Indy Grab with a kick turn or we can do a backside 360…...either way, it’s risky. The problem is……we don’t know if it’s goofy."  Suppose your mechanic spoke in figure skating workspeak......"Well Mr. Thomas, your carburetor has a camel spin with a loop jump, your radiator has a layback lutz, and your distributor is doing a sal-cow.  Overall, I give your car a 5.6, but the Russian mechanic will probably give it a 4.8."  My wife is a material planner for a large cable company and I hear her communicating in cable/material planner workspeak all the time.  Now suppose, your exterminator spoke cable/material planner workspeak….."well Mr. Thomas, the best way to get rid of roaches is with a DCX Thirty-two hundred but that’s on requisition and the EMTA 14 is being provisioned in the lab.  Soon as it’s sleeved, we can get at dem roaches.  We can set you up with an appointment for three weeks from next Tuesday but if no one is at home when we come out, we’ll have to charge you $25.00."  Suppose your hair stylist/beautician spoke in bank teller workspeak…..."Girl, yo hair is overdrawn" OR "before we can put in tracks, we need yo thumbprint" OR "after 2pm, yo press n curl will be finished on the next business day" OR "it’s a 3 day hold for finger waves" OR "before I can do a wet set, it has to be approved by a manager …..I’ll be right back.Here's another one, a man visits a brothel and the employees speak in beautician/hair stylist workspeak......"Oh, you want a ____ dry" (you can fill in the blank yourself).

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