Monday, August 11, 2008

A recipe for panic

What happens when the official spokesman for an organization issues a terse statement to the effect that "An incident occurred that we can't talk about, but rest assured that appropriate action has been taken, so whatever you do, don't panic!"

I predict immediate panic, followed closely by rampant rumor and innuendo.

That's the situation today on my campus. Something happened, but what? Those of us who were here when it happened know a few things but not everything, and we also know enough about privacy laws to know we'd better keep our mouths shut for the moment. But then what do I say when people ask?

"Don't worry," I say. "It's under control."

But what?

"Nothing serious."

Then why the official notification?

"Um, to calm everyone down."

But if it's nothing serious, why are people panicking?

"Because the spokesman told them not to."

But why?

That's where I run out of answers.

1 comment:

MountainLaurel said...

Very true. I remember quite a few of those situations.