Sep 3, 2016

Too Long to Read

     You know when you get furious with someone seemingly out of the blue after you've actually been harboring that anger for God knows how long to the point where you can only explode in the poor sap's face so they just stand there wondering, "Where is all of this coming from??" Well, something like this is about to happen right here right now (am I the only one who hears the beat whenever someone says that?) and it's all been abrewing ever since July 2013.
     Back in July three years ago, I was road-tripping across the States with a friend of mine and we each catalogued our epic trip to the best of our abilities, she on her social media, me on this blog. She was (and still is, bless her heart) kind enough to share my posts on her Facebook page and after posting one of them someone wrote, "TLTR, but the pics are cute." 
     "TLTR?" my friend asked. "What does TLTR mean??"
     It took me a minute or two to decipher the meaning but it eventually hit me: too long to read. Those 683 words of mine were too long to read, but the pictures were cute. It didn't take me long, though, to come up with a reply.
     "You know what you should write back?" I said.
     "What?"
     "MYJTDTRYIT."
     "Now, what does that mean?"
     "Maybe you're just too dumb to read, you illiterate twat. That's what you should write."
     Guess what? She didn't (boooriiiiing) and I'm still bummed about it. That, however, is just one in the long line of regrets stemming from not responding to illiterate twats to my heart's desires.
     In the years that followed, the list of similarly moronic commentary poured in and I still mourn each and every time I held my tongue. Honestly, I think that's why I had gallstones and I'm actually almost half-serious about that — I mean, don't you just want to smash your head against the keyboard until your forehead bleeds, there are at least three keys stuck to your face and the space bar's piercing your septum whenever you see a TLTR-but-the-pics-are-cute comment posted anywhere on the Internet? I sure know I do (I actually wrecked my last three keyboards like that). 
     In case you're now sitting there thinking, "Well, that's because you're a vain cunt and you're insulted when people don't read your stupid bullshit," let me just stop you right there. You may call me a cunt and feel free to call my stupid bullshit stupid bullshit, but I assure you, I'm far from vain and therefore abhor the TLTR-but-the-pics-are-cute comments for two entirely different, very un-vain-like reasons.
     The first reason is Martin Luther. Martin Luther?? Yes, Martin Luther. You know the crazy German (aren't they all?) who thought that everyone should know how to read and even started a revolution back in 1524 advocating, among other things, compulsory schooling for everyone so everyone could, get this, read the Bible themselves. The Bible. Imagine that — he wanted the people to read a book of 783.137 words, that's like 800 times longer than this post right here! Insane, I know, but that's what he was aiming at, that crazy nerd. Despite his efforts, though, 492 years later, still not everyone can read today, which brings me to my second reason.
     The second reason TLTR comments irk me beyond belief is the literacy or better yet the illiteracy rate. Sure, 86.3 percent of us can read and write, globally speaking, but that number is somewhat misleading so here are a few others: in Ethiopia, 58.9 percent of women can't read and/or write (as opposed to 42.8 percent of men). Then there are 75.8 percent of Afghan, 77.2 percent of Guinean and 89 percent of Nigerien women who can't write and/or read (as opposed to 48, 61.9 and 72.7 percent of men respectively). I don't know about you, but that ... that just saddens me. Saddens me and at the same time infuriates me because, as someone once said, to learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark and you obviously have an insanely huge number of people who weren't given the chance to light their fire and here, in the 'civilized' and 'progressive' world, you have just as many if not more twats who simply choose not to read. Because it's too long. Or because it doesn't say 'Cosmopolitan' on the cover or 'LOL😝' at the end.
     Unfortunately for half-literate morons, however, not everything comes in a form of a YouTube video, a funny meme or an Instagram post littered with smiley faces so when refusing to read they risk forever remaining just that — a half-literate moron. And it's not just me, other people think that too: Confucius, for example, said it as well. Fine, he didn't specifically used the word moron, he used a far more poetic and tactful wording (No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.), but the core meaning is the same — read not and forever remain a twat who thinks too long to read is TLTW (too long to write).
     But you know what's funny about imbeciles writing TLTR on the Internet? They don't think about any of this. And I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't even know much of the things written above. I can easily imagine telling one of them, "You know, maybe you should read more, because nine out of ten women in Niger actually can't," and in turn, the semi-literate by choice would feel sorry for the illiterate by chance, when in truth they'd kind of just pity themselves: a man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. To me, that's as clear as the writing on the wall. Too bad there's no 😜 at the end, though, to make it more Instagram-able.

. . . quote by Fran Lebowitz.


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