We recently listened to a recording of Sharon Creech’s Newbery winner, Walk Two Moons. In it, an English teacher reads to the class from the students’ summer journals, overriding their objections by saying that he’ll disguise any names, so no one will know who wrote each passage.
He reads a girl’s description of how her best friend tells her everything, even things she does not want to know, “like what she ate for breakfast and what her father wears to bed and how much her new sweater cost.” Clearly, this was a “too much information” situation. Of course, in reading from the journals the teacher is also giving much too much information. Everyone guesses who the writers are, and it creates no end of trouble in their suddenly precarious friendships.
The passage got me thinking about other experiences I’ve had with TMI. I once sat in a church meeting where a speaker went on at length about her husband’s unfortunate medical situation. At the point that she described more than anyone should ever hear about a great quantity of pus, a man in the congregation fainted, and the ensuing emergency measures to revive him made the meeting one that we would long remember, even as we all tried to forget about the graphic details.
It’s your turn: can you think of a time when you were assailed by too much information, and describe it for us, giving just the right amount?
[Images: Harpercollins, knowyourmeme.com]