Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses.He doesn’t seem to be breathing, and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: “my friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: “Okay, now what?”
Chris Brogan included this joke in his book (written with Julien Smith) Trust Agents to show how jokes have a life of their own, that once created, continue to circulate completely detached from their original creator.
But it’s also a great metaphor for intercultural communications–particularly in multicultural societies (e.g. US) where everyone is speaking the same language (English.)
To explain the work I do, I often tell people that I help them “translate their English to English.” The funny joke does suggest why it’s so imporant to make sure our communications are understood as we intend them.
Ever have a funny, same language miscommunication?