Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Too Much Information

I’m back. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been on a fantastic, extended vacation but that would be a lie; I’ve just been busy with life. I’m sure you can all relate. But wait no more, here’s my latest rambling on yet another completely picayune topic.

I’m a firm – wait a minute, that’s not really accurate – I’m a VERY firm believer in that there’s a lot out there that you’re just better off not knowing. What brought this to mind was a headline that flashed across my computer screen this week: Mobile Phones 18 Times Dirtier Than Toilet Handles. Really? Really? Did I need to know this? I’ll never look at my cell phone the same way again.

“Too Much Information”, also known as “TMI” for short, is everywhere. The straight information sort, like the cell phone / toilet seat article above are often studies carried out by people with seemingly way too much time on their hands. Who thinks this stuff up?

"Hey Joe, let's take a cell phone, and a toilet handle, and count the germs on each."

“Great idea Hal, that would be awesome!”

My husband has completely embraced online banking as it has allowed him to check in on our investments nearly every day, but especially on bad market days (I still haven’t figured out the masochistic nature of that one). No more waiting for quarterly statements, we can find out today how much money we lost in the market. I’ll hear a groan come from the office, he’ll stumble out and start to say “guess how much…”, and I’ll quickly blurt out “I don’t want to know”. I do not need to know how much money we lost in the market as it only conjures up a picture of myself driving down the road slipping $20 bills out an open window.

The bad news ilk of “too much information” is often the teaser stories on your local news. You know the ones that grab your attention and they finally get to in the last 3 minutes of the broadcast.

“How your refrigerator might be killing you, tonight at 11.”

“You’ll never want to eat cheese again after what we tell you tonight at 6”.

I’ve gotta be honest with you – I’m OK not knowing how my fridge might be killing me - and I LIKE cheese, I really like it. I don’t want to know something that might make me want to question or change my relationship with cheese.

Probably the most popular use of “TMI” is the visual sort. You see something that you cannot believe and wish you had never seen, and you can help but mutter “too much information” under your breath. This typically refers to exposed body parts on people whom would have been better served keeping those parts under wraps. There’s the woman with the large puppies (dogs actually) barely contained within her tank top who passed on wearing a bra because she thought that the straps would look tacky. The overweight man who still has a 34” waist under his beer belly; his pants ride so low that his butt-crack is on permanent display. And my personal favorite, those who believe that Lycra really is a miracle fabric. TMI!