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Langham: Taking the Complexity Out of Comp

  • State: Florida

In "My Favorite Year," Peter O'Toole plays Alan Swann. He is a flawed protagonist, and it presents an entertaining premise.

Judge David Langham

Judge David Langham

Essentially, he is an Errol Flynn-kind of movie star cast to appear instead in a television skit show. He confides to the story hero that he thinks he can get the scene that night "on the first take." Our hero informs him the show is live, and that there is only one chance. Swann becomes agitated and exclaims, "I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!" It is a great line. 

Live. That is challenging. Blogging is easy by comparison. I can spend hours poring over the contents here. I have spell checkers and some AI thing that checks my grammar, usage and so much more. I have the comfort of time, reflection and revision. 

Live. That "is an entirely different kind of flying altogether." It is entirely different. 

But, I have given a presentation or two in front of an in-person audience. I have presided over a video hearing or two. I have a few webinars under my belt. How hard could a free-flowing live webinar podcast be?

Well, to be blunt, harder than I thought. 

In January, we debuted a new workers' compensation podcast, "unCOMPlex." It has a nice ring to it, but coming up with a name was challenging. This one has meaning, but I have not run into anyone who immediately got the double entendre there. See, the broad point is that workers' compensation does not have to be all that complicated (it's unCOMPlex). The word ties nicely into the fact that it includes "COMP."

But the Latin escapes most. Latin is perhaps the root of all pretentious communication, or at least "detached" communication. The folks at PBS say it is useful only if you want to "talk like a supervillain." That is likely going a bit too far. The article also makes the point Latin is "perfect ... for introverts," as there is no one who speaks it. So, it is argued, you would have an excuse not to talk to anyone. 

The medical and legal communities use a lot of Latin, and we get (and deserve) a fair bit of criticism for it. Plain speak would be better. By the same token, we should all avoid all those vague and uninformative shortcut acronyms we cling to in comp. We tell ourselves they are shortcuts, but to the world, they are "detached," distant and alienating. 

But, in this instance, it is poetic perhaps that "lex," as in COMPlex, is Latin for "law." And much of what people wanted to talk about in January was the law. That reference fits nicely with the broad purpose of the podcast. It will be a periodic opportunity for me to convey some updates on what is working and what is changing in workers' compensation, primarily in Florida law. 

But, more importantly, it is an opportunity to answer your questions. That is where it got harder than I expected. The chat room is difficult to monitor in real time. It is doable, but not easy. So, without a producer or similar to catch, interpret and categorize those questions, it may be less fluid than one might hope. 

In exchange for that downside, the upside is that the podcast will be real, timely and focused where it should be: on the listener. So, the first episode is "in the can," and available for you in these locations:

We have Feb. 14 scheduled (our goal is to be live at lunchtime on the second Wednesday of each month). The link will be posted on the OJCC Announcement Blog and is also here. The meeting ID is 811 2781 6548; dial-in is 305-224-1968 or 646-931-3860; or find your local number here.

See you then.

David Langham is deputy chief judge of the Florida Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. This column is reprinted, with his permission, from his Florida Workers' Comp Adjudication blog.

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