NOISE F.M: William Card

_DSC4383According to the bountiful cornucopia-knowledge-bomb Wikipedia, “terms of use and conditions, are rules that one must agree to abide by in order to use a service.” I, like I imagine many of us, hastily click through the terms of use, and ping through multiple menus of “I accept” and “I waive my rights” blah blah blah. The risk of briskly clicking through these menus is sure to have crossed our minds. But it’s not like we have to pay attention to them, right?

Terms of use are a regular part of life. They dispel current and pending liability and basically numb the user into blindly agreeing for use of a product or service. I get it. There is a lot of liability in our world to be scared of. In my music law seminar, multiple class action lawsuits were drawn by concert-goers claiming to have gotten temporary tinnitus from a concert. A Florida trial court ruled that “the plaintiff fully appreciated and assumed the risk of exposure to loud music.” Conversely, the Florida appellate court ruled the exact opposite. By attending the concert, it wasn’t the plaintiffs intent to receive irreparable hearing damage. In this case, a simple waiver at the door would’ve saved a bunch of messy attorney fees. Think we can do the same thing with interpersonal relationships?

There are few contracts in interpersonal relationships. There are some that tell the state and federal government that you’re legally bound to another individual. I regretfully signed one freshman year with two 18-and one 19-year-old guys as a dorm-pact to be good roommates. My thought is if it works for you—that’s great. One roommate married my ex-girlfriend later – it didn’t work out for me. I also had a professor recently and disturbingly relate his sexual preferences to a terms of use agreement (Life sure as hell isn’t that simple, buddy—that was one surefire way to create a hostile classroom environment).

Relationships are dynamic and fluid entities. What we need from one another changes day to day. The beautiful intricacies of how we embracing each others struggle in relationship to one another is one of the biggest validations of our humanity. Tossing a translucent veil won’t do the progression of humankind any good.

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