Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Friday, 14 September 2007

Two minutes and twelve seconds

Word count: 442 words

This will take you 2 minutes and 12 seconds to read. Approximately.

I had to go to the doctor’s yesterday. I was there a week ago and he gave me some medication which, to say the very least, did not agree with me. To say a little more, it was like being dragged, kicking and screaming back to one of those weeks when you were a kid and sick and just starting to realise how much the human body can hurt itself if you disrespect it too much. It had been a long time since I had felt so miserable and what hurt – though way down the bottom of the list of the things that really really hurt – was that the root cause was taking something to make me feel better.

Anyway, that sets the scene. I went armed with a history of my miscellaneous aches and ailments hoping, once looked at together, an underlying cause might manifest itself. Of course, when the list came out of my bag the doctor’s hands went up – physically I think though it might just have been metaphorically – and I was reminded that we only had ten minutes and if I wanted him to read the thing I’d have to book another appointment. Could I not simply give him the bullet-points? Of course the reason for spending the time on the notes was to make sure that everything was covered, in the right order and described as accurately as possible and, as you would expect from a writer, a great deal of time went into its editing and polishing.

So, what could I do. I gave him a garbled account, he took some blood, said he would arrange for me to see a specialist and I thanked him for his time.

Afterwards that I got to thinking: how much could I have said in ten minutes? Well, the average number of words for a male comes in at about 125 words per minute so we’re talking 1250 words. More or less.

You do realise that a man would've spent about three minutes thirty-three seconds on this blog if, in the unlikely circumstance, he'd been reading it out aloud to a friend. Since the “normal” reading speed falls in at about 200 words per minute he'd likely only be down a couple of minutes.

The modern world loves its sound bites and tag lines but a joke is far more than a punch line. So what’s my point? My point is this: life is more than just getting the point. Sorry I took so long getting there. Hope I didn’t waste your time.


zenartnothing said...

I read faster than the average bear. I spent less than a minute getting to your point.
(sighing and hitching pants)

Jim Murdoch said...

Well, Zenartnothing, all I can say is that I'm jealous.

zenartnothing said...

Oh my goodness, I think I committed a sin. I made what would seem like an obvious reference to my countrymen as Barney Fife and I did not consider my audience. Would a Scot have been exposed to The Andy Griffith Show which had its heyday in the fifties? It was a about a warm, kind-hearted Sheriff amd his bumbling Deputy Barney, who was just a wee bit self-absorbed. No, you needn't be jealous of an inconsiderate semi-speed reader like me.
Right then.
Now for something completely DIFFIDENT.

Jim Murdoch said...

I got the Yogi Bear reference - he was a huge favourite when I was a kid - but I've only see a few episodes of The Andy Griffith Show courtesy of my wife who got a DVD so she could share some of her cultural heritage.

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