Thursday, December 13, 2012

Prank Call Gone Wrong: DJs Respond to Nurse's Death

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It was a shock to hear last week that one of the nurses who answered the phone when two Australian DJs made a prank call was dead, and had committed suicide. The DJs, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles called the private hospital where Kate Middleton was admitted for morning sickness to get some laughs for their readers. No one could have foreseen it would end this way.

From what I can tell from news reports, the nurse who killed herself, Jacintha Saldanha, was the receptionist who picked the call, and then actually transferred them to someone on the ward. I listened to the call myself and she did not say more than a couple of sentences. I found it difficult to make the stretch from the prank call to the apparent suicide for a wife and mother of two teenagers.

To be honest though, I don't know her, and I don't know what she may have been going through even before the prank call, maybe the prank and the backlash she expected from family, friends, her employers and the general public became too much, the final straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. As might be expected, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, the two Australian DJs behind the hoax, are totally broken up as seen in a recent interview.

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Permission from my Mother by Nena Ndioma

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Few African mothers (bless their hearts) will ever encourage their daughter’s divorce. Mine is no different.

I’ve never had a particularly easy relationship with my mother. Now that I look back, I can see that this partly stems from the fact that while I’m a ‘born’ communicator, my mother’s communication style is pretty indirect, and therefore difficult to decipher. Understandably, our communication styles clashed too often for us to get along terribly well while I was growing up. With the passage of time, we’ve gotten better at communicating – or, rather, at accepting that we communicate differently, and at (sort of) trying to meet each other half-way.

I broke the news of my divorce plans to my mother gently, but clearly and directly. I broke the news over a period of weeks, repeating the same message several times to give her time to absorb and make peace with it. Each time, in her characteristic communication style, she shrugged it off like an uncomfortable shawl, nervously laughed a little as if to help take away the sting of the unpalatable message, assured me breezily that the marital situation would get better … and then changed the subject.

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