SOS Has Many Meanings

I’m probably going out on a limb to think that everybody reading my post knows what the term SOS means. I’m sure some of you are thinking the slang meaning, which I’m not referring to. Rather, I’m referring to the Morse Code reference to S.O.S. used by ships in distress.

From Wikipedia

SOS is the commonly used description for the international Morse code distress signal (· · · — — — · · ·). This distress signal was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1, 1905, and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, which was signed on November 3, 1906 and became effective on July 1, 1908. SOS remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. (With this new system in place, it became illegal for a ship to signal that she is in distress in Morse code.) SOS is still recognized as a visual distress signal.

From the beginning, the SOS distress signal has really consisted of a continuous sequence of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits, all run together without letter spacing. In International Morse Code, three dits form the letter S, and three dahs make the letter O, so “SOS” became an easy way to remember the order of the dits and dahs. In modern terminology, SOS is a Morse “procedural signal” or “prosign”, and the formal way to write it is with a bar above the letters: SOS.

In popular usage, SOS became associated with such phrases as “save our ship”, “save our souls” and “send out succour”. These may be regarded as mnemonics, but SOS is not an abbreviation, acronym or initialism. In fact SOS is only one of several ways that the combination could have been written, VTB, for example, would produce exactly the same sound, but SOS was chosen to describe this combination. SOS is the only 9-element signal in Morse code, making it more easily recognizable, as no other symbol uses more than 8 elements.

I remember when I was a kid and we would play pretend games, like commanding a submarine and surprisingly piloting a fighter plane (seems odd to save SOP right?) we would pretend to issue radio commands (not even morse code)…I never said we were the smartest kids back then. We would pretend that we were under attack and about to go down.

So what does S.O.S. and my childhood games have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, because it’s about having an awareness that some help is needed…some rescuing in fact is needed. You could say we need to issue an S.O.S. because the issue is that we are doing the SOS all the time and we need a little change. Nice play on words right?

Some Change…Some Energy…Some Magic

It’s time for a little magic team. We need some creativity…some flair. Yeeeeaaaahh, I’m gonna need you to come in on Saturday….


I’m not really going to need you to come in on Saturday. But I need each and everyone of you to think about how to save the ship…how to change things up so it’s a little less of the same old stuff.



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