The Long and the Short of It (Abridged Version)

More isn’t always better.

Take for instance, “Long story short . . . ”

There’s no such thing as “Long story short,”. Just as there is no such thing as bread in Chinese restaurants or professional football in Miami. It’s a boldface lie in long britches. It’s like Three Easy Steps! or the starting time for a big sporting event or a ‘vote of confidence’. It’s a funny line from Jim Belushi, an honest line from Hilary Clinton, the bottom line at Bank of America.

It’s human nature to expand rather than contract and in so doing, to waste someone else’s time. It’s easier to shake and rattle, rather than to simply roll. That’s why we have malls and stretch limos and Don McLean.

People who have a story to tell always want to tell you the whole thing. 

The last recorded incident of a long story actually being short? Try The Gettysburg Address in November, 1863. Which clocked in at two minutes despite its dubious “Four Score and Seven Years Ago,” beginning. Somehow, Lincoln was able to enumerate on such lofty ideals as honor, sacrifice and the underpinnings of the Declaration while framing the bloodshed at Gettysburg as a symbolic call to union by God and country . . in two minutes time! For the sake of comparison, Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine’s average pre-game speech last season clocked in at a robust four minutes and twenty eight seconds. The Browns went 3-13.

Think about that one tomorrow morning when the other end of your line recites a thesis on why they can never date anyone with kids ever again. And best of luck trying to cut that conversation short.

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24 thoughts on “The Long and the Short of It (Abridged Version)

      • I was just confused. I didn’t read hidden meanings. You explained, thank you. Everything is fine. 🙂
        And speaking of Lincoln….I like the word “score.” It’s similar to your affinity for “fortnight.” Enjoy your weekend.

        • Seeing as how we hashed out the above on the phone, and thank you for that, Imma move to your thoughts on Lincoln, and score, if you don’t mind.

          Score is such a versatile word. It has managed to retain its oomph while many of its peers went by the wayside. Whereas fortnight has been relegated, by and large, to Europe and Wimbledon coverage, score’s spot in our lineup remains unquestioned. It’s hip (As per “They know the score”), and it’s relevant to the everyday (As per “What’s the score?”). Gotta love that.

          Peace and Declan Beckett to you Christy. And love, much.

  1. On the other hand, I did go look up the Gettysburg Address. Putting a number to the time it took to read the piece aloud took me by surprise. I thought, surely it took much longer to say all that it encompassed, but nope. You were right. You generally are.

    • Mary,

      You’re lovely for many reasons, not the least of which is coming back with another comment.

      Yep, while the average Trump speech runs about eight hours, Lincoln was able to say everything that needed to be said in a fraction’s fraction of the time. He knew the people who came to listen to him speak had better things to do so he cut to the quick. His example has not been followed by most politicians, sad to say.

      Peace and more peace to you Mary

  2. Sooo…I was making pancakes yesterday…did I miss anything? (I couldn’t resist)

    “Long story short” has always been a pet peeve of mine. Do you know what struck me in this story(other than the last paragraph)? I loved that you called this the “abridged” version and that it was likely your shortest entry ever. Practice? Meet preach.

    Your words are efficient, and nothing you write is accidental–it’s one of the most powerful tools in your literary arsenal.

    Which brings me to the pretty little elephant in the room (Meet Virginia).

    Dude…you gotta know the woman’s brain. You grew up surrounded by women and I know they taught you a thing or two about the complexities. Our minds are going to go the cryptic places whether we want them to or not. For context – my brain isn’t that sophisticated and it STILL went there. Especially knowing that you always write with purpose and layers.

    I won’t rehash anything already said, but did want to let you y’all know that I wasn’t hiding under a rock somewhere. Okay, maybe I was – but, I’m here now. This will come as no surprise to Christy, my skin crawls with anxiety when friends are at odds and I’m terrible at dealing with conflict. I’m glad you guys reached the “all’s well that ends well” because thinking of any other result would have made me sad.

    Now…I’m off to read the Gettysburg address and take care of this pancake craving.

  3. Long story short … reminds me of Seinfeld’s yada, yada, yada … where the long story is actually short until they yada yada over the best parts. Hope you’re doing well buddy. From checking out the comments I see you had a Seinfeld episode going on there yourself, or Three’s Company … which ever one had miscommunication at the start of the episode where things go haywire … The Crazy Joe Divola or date with Jimmy’s New In Town episode, or any episode where Jack, Janet, or Chrissy accidentally overhear something and the 30 minutes of comedy ensues 🙂 but glad things got cleared up buddy. Buen Camino.

    • Cali,

      Yes, the yada yada is a very useful tool, and I have used it in some variation many times over, lol. One of my favorite episodes, like ever. Seinfeld, like the Godfather (Part 1) has a wealth of lessons tucked inside of it. True thing.

      I’m doing well and just so you know, I have been doing the 22 (plus okay?).

      You take care hermana

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