Thursday, 18 October 2007

Hey, hi...bye!

The above subject refers.

In my not-so-many years of legal practice, and much longer years of letter writing and correspondence exchange, I have never once come across the Perfect Message. The Perfect message is hereby defined as one which has the following qualities: brevity, clarity and style.

I'd have to confess though, that my not coming across the Perfect Message (lets just abbreviate it to PM, shall we?) was not for want of trying. In term papers, examination scripts and theses throughout my secondary and tertiary education I hoped to achieve PM. I would carefully summarise all the answers to exam questions on, say, the Law of Contract as:

"someone has, the other does not.
the one who's doesn’t have
buys from the one who's got".

I didn’t get full marks for that one at school. If I remember correctly, I got the minimum marks available. The reason for this, I guess, was the Lecturer's lack of poetic instinct.

Or take, for instance, my well researched dissertation for an Anthropology course titled "Complex Relationships in Today's Modern World". To aid proper comprehension, my submission was simple and straight to the point:

"She loves me
and I love another
who loves the guy
whose girl loves my brother."

Come to think of it, I didn’t get full marks for that one as well...

Anyway, as you can see, I have searched for PM most of my life.

And then, yesterday, from nowhere, the PM dropped on my laps. More accurately, it appeared as a text on my phone - "Hey, hi...bye!"

The message had everything- salutation, inquiry about my whereabouts and a final greeting. Even the ellipsis conveyed wordless feelings. And it stopped with a conclusive Bye accentuated by as excited exclamation point.

My feelings since then, have been both of elation (finally a genuine PM!) and tragedy (I know what the message said but what did it MEAN?) and I promptly made up my mind to duly insult the sender of the PM. Better still, pay her back in her own coin. Reason being, though a fantastic message, it was way too cruel and cold. So I set out with the task of composing a PM to match hers, expressing my anger and disgust.

I came up with quite a few:

"Very nasty text you sent, why did you even bother?

which I then abbreviated to:

"Very nasty bother."

I took out the spirit behind it and did a final summary in the way of:


So now I was ready and raring to go. I typed the pregnant word on my phone and pressed the 'send' button. Then lay back and slept off.

I was awoken at night by a blinking light. My phone was blinking. A text message! Aha, my PM was better than hers, and it went straight to her heart. Now she's all repentant, isn't she? I smirked. I already had another response ready to her anticipated reply of contrition. She was going to beg for forgiveness for her thoughtlessness and ask me to take her back into my fold. I was going to reply with a well timed: "Bah!" I was elated. In one night, I had mastered the art of the PM. I could see myself writing a book about PM's in the future, being acclaimed internationally, meeting the Heads of State and the British er, PM, awards, cash, endorsements, cute models...

I picked up my phone. The light still blinked. I was indeed a text message. But not from her. The message went :

Message cannot be delivered. Reason insufficient credit...

For now Globacom has the record for the best PM…