Monday, April 28, 2014

“This Page Intentionally Left Blank” Is Intentionally Ridiculous

I know there are more important things in the world to complain about. But, for some reason, when I see a document with a page that is marked “This Page Intentionally Left Blank”, it annoys me to no end. I frequently see this phrase in legal documents, company annual reports/proxy statements, medical benefit summaries, etc. I understand that they don’t want someone to see a blank page and think that they are missing something, but really now, there has GOT to be a better way to do it other than printing “This Page Intentionally Left Blank” on it. Doing so means the page is now NOT BLANK. It make my head want to explode, the same way it feels when watching sci-fi on television when a paradox is encountered. How can a page be blank and NOT blank at the same time?  It can't - at least not in this universe, unless you are Doctor Who and are using your psychic paper.

Here are my suggestions for pages where one intends no information to be printed on a page (this also applies to the “this space intentionally left blank” statement for sections of a page where no printing is intended):

1. Put a big “X” on it.

2. Put a large “forward slash” on it

3. Substitute the phase “There’s nothing to see here, move along.”

4. Don’t leave it blank if it’s a page in the middle of a large document. Think of all the reams of paper you’d save.

5. Throw caution to the wind and LEAVE IT BLANK!

I understand that people who write legal documents, company annual reports/proxy statements, and medical benefits summaries think that the rest of the world is stupid, but I assure you that 99.99% of the population can understand a blank page. If you’re giving someone a complex document and that person can’t understand the concept of a blank page, that blank page is the least of your worries.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,
The Frequent Critic, here.