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  • Paul Davidson

Words For <i>Your</i> Enjoyment: Telegrams

If it weren’t for Jessi and her numerous ideas this week for “Words For Your Enjoyment”, well, I might not be sitting here today talking to you about telegrams.

You see, Jessi suggested, “Hey, why not write about telegrams?”

She’s so adept, that one. STOP.

Can you imagine if, just in the way words cost money when sending a telegram, words that came out of your mouth ALSO cost you money? People’s conversations would be shorter depending on the cost. You’d hope that when the important conversations came around (like asking someone to marry you or telling someone to duck because a piano was about to hit them) you’d invest a lot more money in your words — but when the almighty dollar is counting and sucking money from your wallet, sometimes the best of intentions can go out the window.

Him: You. Me. STOP.

Her: Huh? STOP.

Him: Love. No? STOP.

Her: Yes. STOP.

Him: Forever? STOP.

Her: Yes. STOP.

(He pulls out the ring, gives it to her.)

Aaah, romance.

The funny thing is, pretty recently I saw the telegram that my Grandmother sent my Grandfather in WWII when she gave birth to my mother. It was something like, “You have a daughter. STOP. Come home soon. STOP.”

What’s my point, you ask? My point is this — telegrams are still used today. But telegrams are impersonal pieces of paper that make all of us sound like Corky on Life Goes On. Yes, for those who don’t know the show I’m speaking of — telegrams make us sound like unfeeling idiots.

Why not integrate some changes for the next-generation of telegrams? How about scratch and sniff telegrams? Then, if you were angry you could scratch the phrase “Am Angry, STOP” and smell spicy salsa or cinnamon. Or if you wanted to communicate love, you could have the scent be something like cotton candy or really high-quality speaker wires (it’s really romantic if your significant other gives you a huge flat screen plasma TV as a gift with all the monster cables you’ll ever need, right?).

Or if the scratch n’ sniff telegram idea is too 1983, why not go for the visual telegram? Instead of emoticons which are strictly an on-line dealio, go for little pictures that the telegram booth (which I’ve just invented this second) takes for of you as you record your lines. Sort of like a photo-booth meets a telegram machine.

Me: “In Paris. Beautiful. STOP.” (Puts on beret, smiles wide as picture SNAPS.)

Me: “Great food here. STOP.” (Stands up, rubs tummy, look of being stuffed. SNAP.)

Me: “Miss you terribly. STOP.” (Pretending to cry as picture SNAPS.)

And so on. Then, you’d get a telegram with attached photos and the impersonal nature of the telegram would no longer assault your soul in such the way that it does now. For, if you’re going to guard all your money like Fort Knox, and you can’t afford a calling card or a cell phone to communicate your important information to your friends and family — the least you can do is trek on down to the telegram/picture machine and get that thing out in the mail.

I think these are very smart, very strong, very progressive ideas that could take the ancient, dusty concept of the Telegram into the next century.

Don’t you?

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