Message Intricacies

On his way out he walked within the Control Room and noticed that it needed to be cleaned. Instructing Koos Theron, Senior Operator, to make it happen, and left for the diluters.

A while later, Theron called him over the Walkie-Talkie requesting that he return to the control room as he needed assistance with a labour problem. Arriving, he found Theron and two African cleaning attendants waiting for him. Theron told him that the one guy refused to work complaining that he was ill. The incumbent doing the translation work from Xhosa to Afrikaans blurted out;

“Morena it is the women!”

At first, Matthew had a problem to understand what the problem was rendering the poor soul unable to work. The incumbent pointed to the region of his groin, and Matthew finally realised that he complained of having syphilis and was in pain, especially if he had to go on his knees to wash the floors! Matthew was not convinced and thought that the incumbent was looking for an excuse to avoid cleaning the Control Room floor.

The incumbent, noticing unbelief, offered to drop his pants for closer inspection of his penis and summarily started to loosen his belt.

Matthew stopped him in his tracks and told the incumbent to wait in the Change- House until the Ambulance arrives; he was not prepared to look at the incumbent’s penis. Matthew turned around and said to Theron; “F#@k man, this guy is giving me the creeps!’ The problem facing Matthew was that the guy might have been telling him a fib about having syphilis.

About an hour later the Hospital Sister called informing Matthew that the doctor had checked the incumbent and that he had a severe attack of sinus and flu!

He could not believe his ears and asked her to repeat what she said. He could not believe what she told him to be true. Before going to the Hospital, the incumbent said to him that he had syphilis and now must have changed his story when the doctor spoke to him.

The Sister suddenly got upset and shouted in disgust that she was not a liar.

He knew that he now had a more severe problem and tried to explain to her exactly what had happened, but she was not listening, was upset and slammed the telephone down in his ear.

‘The Sister, now overwhelming upset, slammed the phone down in his ear.

He sat at his desk for almost an hour to try and figure out what has happened, but his mind was blank, he just could not put it together. On Sunday morning, Matthew put pen to paper and recorded in detail his observations, noting what the Sister said on two occasions when speaking to him.

It was only when Skinner spoke, with noticeable anger that he realized something had happened;

‘My wife phoned you on Saturday morning and informed you that I was booked off sick because I had sinus and flu! You instead told my wife (Anne) repeatedly that I had syphilis and implied that she was a liar!

This incident was a valuable lesson in communication, and he took great care to make sure who he was talking to in the future, especially if it was over the landline phone!



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Mattheus Frederik

Mattheus Frederik

Experience in Explosives, Fertilizers, Heavy Chemicals and Author. Love People, High Tech, Space and Afrikaans/English Translator.