ALL ABOARD: This might be a little too much information for you

In my effort to keep my forefingers on the pulse of our back yards, I took a road trip yesterday to process that information to which

I have been recently subjected.

You know about information, don’t you?

It’s that stuff that we have too much of.

Information like whom we are supposed to vote for, or against, or not at all.

Information like the Olympics scoring system, weighting and balancing degrees of difficulty and the execution thereof.

Information like who said what to whom and why, and how, and where.

There is even an acronym now for too much information: TMI.

According to Wikipedia, probably the Internet’s greatest source of too much information, TMI is a “slang expression indicating that someone has divulged too much personal information and made the listener uncomfortable.”

No kidding.

How comfortable am I when the NBC cameras hang above the USA’s women’s gymnastics team eavesdropping on their private discussion and analysis of their performances on the uneven bars?

What business is it of mine to know how much some kid has struggled and sacrificed to get to Beijing?

Why do we need to know how many fires are burning around the world at one time?

Brien McMahon offered this bit of information: “The experience of a century and a half has demonstrated that our system of free government functions best when the maximum degree of information is made available to our people. In fact, free and candid discussion of vexing problems is the bedrock of democracy and it may be our surest safeguard for peace.”

If Brien were sitting across from me at one of our local coffee counters, I would first ask him how many e-mails he gets a day, and how many he actually reads.

Then I’d sic my cousin Brenda on him, to really bury him in contemporary free speech, with all of the extraneous information that the Internet, cable TV, bulk mail and local gossip transmit.

My dear cousin Brenda knows more about the who, what, when, where and why of our family, the international scene and the hidden cul-de-sacs of Houston, Texas than a global positioning system.

My problem is similar to that of Franklin P. Adams, who shared this bit of info: “I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.”

How many of us met our spouses using that method?

I’m convinced that if we all had significantly less information, we’d eat less chocolate, smoke fewer cigarettes and drink less booze.

Like my dad used to say, “Jimmy, don’t tell me what you are going to do. Show me what you did.”

Talk about a time saver.

Is anybody really listening anyway?

When I was a kid, TMI meant Three Mile Island or “transmarginal inhibition” or ton-mile, a unit of freight transportation quantity.


That’s too much information.