One Friday, I got a phone call from a student as he was getting ready to fly home to Canada over the weekend. “I’m having a problem. I can’t get my BOM to explode.”
Now what he should have said was "I can’t get my bill of material to expand properly."
What the airport worker heard was, “I can’t get my bomb to explode.” To top it off the student was of Somalia descent. There was most likely a bit of profiling. But I really can’t blame the airport security. They had no idea the student was on the phone talking to his instructor about an inventory bill of material. It took three days and a letter from the company sponsoring the training to get him released. He missed not only his weekend at home but also a full day of training.
After sharing the story, he warned us again. “Don’t talk about BOMs at the airport. They just don’t understand.”
When we know what we are talking about, we often say things that are in context and innocent to us. Others around us that have a different viewpoint can easily misinterpret our innocent words.
Dale is a very specific person and I create words all the time. I frequently hear myself saying, “I interpreted your words that way” when he says a word out of place. On the flip side, when I make up a word, I hear back, “I think you are lying to me.” Perspective is such a unique point of view.