Sunday, July 18, 2004

fun with grammar and style

The following is the unedited text of a memo sent on 11 June 2004 from the management of the office building where I work. My interspersed annotations are bracketed and colored orange. The names have been removed to protect the ignorant.
In honor of former President Ronald Reagan's funeral, the United States of America's 40th President, [The funeral was 40th president? I should have paid better attention during that administration] [Building Management] will have the Auditorium available for viewing continuous news coverage throughout the day. [Communal television viewing: Memorials for the 21st century.] The Auditorium, located on the Concourse level, will be open Friday, June 11, 2004 from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

[Building Name] will have the American flag flown at half-staff in honor of former President Reagan. [Yes, we got the "former" part the first time you mentioned it. Most of us had down the notion that he wasn't presently in office. Feel free to mention the national day of mourning aspect, just to mix it up; that's why it's happening today, even though he died nearly a week ago.]

Please feel free to bring your lunch and refreshment [read: we're not providing jack shit] as you observe this historical [possibly just historic, unless it's based on something from the past] and somber event in our nation's history. [Will the passing of the 43rd president prove to be somber? Only time will tell.]
Is it ironic that communicating about the Great Communicator proved so difficult?

Follow-up Note: On my lunch hour that day I poked my head in the auditorium to check the attendance. At that time, it consisted of 4 people. The building has 55 floors.