A smidgen of time – that’s all I’m asking.

I’ll give this to the guy – he prompted me to learn something I didn’t know before.

I enjoy looking up and reading about stuff I’ve never heard of and – not always, but usually – I take the time for it.

And time? Well, that’s what this post is all about. 

“Jesus Christ & Happy Days”

Last week I shared a #SeeItAgainSunday post on my social media. It was a replay of “Jesus Christ & Happy Days in Three Tiny Towns,” an autobiographical, Easter-themed piece I wrote last year about growing up, “sinning” and facing the music.

It’s around 3,100 words.

Which apparently were 3,100 reasons for…

“tl;dr”

That was the guy’s comment on Facebook.

If you’ve been living under a rock since the early 2000s when tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) first made its way into the lexicon – as I apparently have been – this might be the first time you’re seeing it.

And, if you’re like me, you’re inclined to look it up.

Which I did.

According to Andrew Heinzman, a writer for “How-To Geek” – 

“Generally speaking, you should only use TLDR when summarizing a piece of text, whether you’re the author or commenter. Using the phrase TLDR without offering a useful summary for the content can come off as intentionally rude (but of course, that may be your intention)… When using TLDR as a commenter, your job is very simple. Provide a useful summary that other readers can understand or leave a snarky “TLDR” and come off as rude or childish.”

My thoughts exactly.

Responding in Kind. Perhaps Not Very Kindly.

Somewhere near the top of my list of peeves is jerkish behavior when it’s absolutely not necessary. The person literally has to go out of their way.

I mean, I get it. With a 3,100-word post one needs to commit. It’s not a few-seconds or few-minutes kind of thing. Reading it might take a little while. 

But what are we really talking about here?

According to ExecuRead, “The average reading speed is 200 to 250 words a minute in non-technical material.” 

Which means “Jesus Christ & Happy Days” would require an investment of around 12-16 minutes.

Is that really so much? Not for me. But for this guy, those 3,100 words were simply too daunting.

And you know what? That’s perfectly OK.

But his comment left me flummoxed. Vexed, even.

If the guy didn’t want to take his time to read the piece, why would he use some of it to be insulting?

Remember that peeve? Well – full disclosure – I’m guilty of it myself sometimes. Like when I went out of my way to reply to this guy’s comment with one of my own.

Screenshot of IV Words post plus comments
Shame on me.

Then again, I never claimed to be so busy I couldn’t take 15 minutes to read an essay, either.

It’s a Mucked-Up World

I think part of the reason for my annoyance is I believe “tl;dr” is an attitude, perhaps even an approach to life, that has everything in the world messed up right now.

People need to take time to dig into details, look deeper instead of scanning often misleading Twitter-feed headlines, possibly even – gasp! – read full news stories and opinion pieces. Perhaps even seek out more stories on the same subject to bolster our comprehension and round out our understanding.

This is not a radical thought.

Unfortunately, critical thought has taken it on the nose for decades, partly, I believe, due to time (or perceived lack thereof).

I wish we’d take a little more of it, though, to look up, think, weigh, consider, process… and arrive at informed conclusions.

To be clear, I do not for even one second equate “Jesus Christ and Happy Days” to important news or critical reading for societal health or productive political discourse. All I’m saying is that, maybe, just maybe, 15 minutes for a story once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. Especially if it might entertain, elicit a giggle, a nod in agreement or a vigorous negative shake of the head, jog memories, cause reveries or even spark new ideas.

If that’s too much… well, then…

Move along. Nothing to see here.

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1 Comment

  1. The person who did the TL:DR wants to live life via “sound bites” and headlines w/o having to actually know anything. “Quick take” thoughtlessness is enough when they’re only interested in pretending to be informed.
    That’s why i am a fan of Rachel Maddow’s show. She dives into the history and background of things so when she presents the story, one has the background to put things in perspective.
    None of that can be done from ‘sound bites’. Even worse, headlines are often intentionally misleading. If they can (maybe) spark emotion, the article might get read, at least the first couple of paragraphs.
    So-called “first impressions” are sometimes useful, *except* when dealing with a con man. See: the last 4 years. See: the last 40 years of Republican politics. Note: Nancy’s astrologer was much less wrong than what we had for the last 4 years.
    Yes, i went there! lol

    Peace!

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