For anybody out there in a creative communications field, or even just very adept at the English language, you may have heard the quote, “I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter”, as written by Blaise Pascal. Well, it’s true because the mere fact that rascally devil Mark Twain tried to take that quote and shorten it to, “If I had more time I would write a shorter letter”, just goes to show you how poorly Monsieur Pascal did in the first place. Then again, he was born 60 years after Shakespeare, so thou dost believe he may have foundeth extensive difficulties in this task.
I, for one fail miserably. Funnily enough, at work I am currently mentoring my intern on how to write in simpler terms. Write short? Ya, right. How on earth could I get all my witty andecdotes out there then? (kidding…well, sort of). But, let’s be honest, it is incredibly difficult to do. Why do you think there are so many brutal tweets floating in the digital world and why do you think all these terrible acronyms were invented “FML, LMAO, LOL, OMG”…or my brother’s favourite…”OMFG”? It’s because there are things we all want to say and cannot in 140 characters or less! Also noted, when reading some of my friends’ texts, I swear I’m chatting (I can’t believe I just called it that) with an illiterate sailor who cannot spell or avoid swearing in a one-sentence message…they want to say so much more than they want to type! C’mon, just give in, type YOURSELF and get over urself.
Once again, who am I to really judge anyone? I am a recent iPhone owner and am incredibly guilty for shortening (you) to (u)…but the (u) is actually next to the (i) and pretty consistently I mistakenly hit the wrong one, COMPLETELY changing the message (oh HOW funny)…and more importantly I am now getting off topic. Butttt, more often than not I end up sounding like a narcissistic ass. Somehow the meaning of “I suck” changes when it becomes “u suck ”.
But, back to the point…which, I inadvertently just proved. It’s hard to stay concise. My grade 12 English teacher (let’s call him Mr. Pretentious Douche) told my mother I would never achieve an ‘A’ in his class. I was younger than the other students and he believed it took a certain maturity to grasp the English language. What I soon discovered is that he believed in brevity. Shorten your sentences, simplify your words, say more in less. 3 months later….I got an A.
Take that. Short enough for you?
The Ginga Ninja