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Shocking The DJ

April 29, 2014

KBAR, 101.5, we’ve got Rodney on the line. What can I do for you?

I’d like to request a song.

Sure, but today we are only taking requests by album and track number.

Yeah, I know. I’d like album number 235 track 10, Garth Brooks’ Ireland off the Fresh Horses album.

. . . How did you know that?

Every profession has it’s jargon. Often it is used to make talking to your peers easier. It’s much easier to explain to a network engineer that the DHCP address range excludes the addresses 0-210 in third octet of the IP address than to try to explain it in layman’s terms.

But occasionally jargon is used simply as a barrier to entry. I once met Shawn Nelson the founder of Lovesac. He explained how he got his first order. He accepted an order from a local Utah furniture store to make a series of fabric covered footstools. He then flew to China to arrange to have them made. The Chinese factory owners he met with attempted to drive a hard bargain. They would talk amongst themselves about what kind of margins they thought they could get. When their translator communicated their offer, the young brash American seemed to come back with a counter offer right at their breakeven point. More discussion and another offer, and again the American’s counter offer was very close to their cost of goods.

What they never figured out was that the American who sat patiently while they discussed their strategy was fluent in Cantonese. He understood every word. He was also smart enough to not let them know. He got the order at their bare minimum price and it helped him launch his company.

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Every IT person I know has at one point grown tired of objections from a non-expert and simply resorted to jargon to attempt to shut down the conversation. Like the founder of Lovesac, it’s often advantageous and occasionally fun to let people know that you see through their ploy.

While a missionary for the Mormon church in Chicago, my companion and I were traveling on a bus. Elder Randal was deaf and we were talking in sign language. A group of young teenage boys in the back of the bus began to swear and make fun of the two “deaf” guys. I of course, was translating everything they said to Elder Randal. Neither one of us so much as glanced at the back of the bus. My companion had a great suggestion

You have to say something to them as they get off.

As the boys got to their stop they had to walk right between us. They were still laughing and joking. As they came even with me I looked up at the leader.

You should really watch your language on the bus.

He was so stunned that they all silently shuffled off the bus as quickly as possible.

So, how did I know that “Ireland” was on album 235 track 10? Well, I’d been listening to the station for a couple of hours. When the DJ started calling out track numbers he announced that album 235 track 6 was “Beaches of Cheyenne.” I’m a huge Garth Brooks fan. I pulled out my copy of Fresh Horses and saw that “Beaches of Cheyenne” was the 6th track.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just waited a couple of hours so that he wouldn’t remember he’d already played a song off that album.

He laughed and then played the song. . . one of my favorites.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

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