I’m all about the Shortcut. So much so that when I spent a bunch of time in Italy a few years ago, my friend noticed me always cutting corners while walking across a piazza or amending the Italian language by eliminating various so-called “essential” articoli such as il, la, and le., per esempio…
I mean…does it really matter if the apple is a girl or a boy? I’m all about gender equality here! Even in language…especially in language.
Her response was always the same: “Questa e la regola” (This is the rule).
Well, heck, I don’t really love rules. Just ask my kindergarten teacher mom Linda, who still “can’t believe you’re my child” as I dump ingredients into a mixing bowl for cookies which officially have a recipe, but unofficially need “the ingredients I SAY they need.”
The spectrum of shortcuts is wide, but to take an article-writing shortcut (wink!), allow me to narrow them down to The Big 3:
A few physical scars I’ve obtained in the past 2 years are both from gorgeous locations.
Hawaii: surfing scars from taking my long board out where the Big Boys were playing instead of strapping it to the Pontiac Sunfire and travelling a half mile to Newbie territory.
Bali: “Wow! Did you have a scooter accident?”
Nope, I simply walked over a gravel pile (instead of around) late at night, I slid onto the side of my foot and acquired a few nasty abrasions. (I was also wearing flip-flops—stay tuned for “Reasons to Wear Shoes” and “I Coulda Been a Foot Model”…)
Mental: Especially in college, I felt an irrational sense of accomplishment after copying my notes. That’s right—I’d sit there with my notebook (the paper kind) and a different notebook and painstakingly rewrite what had already been written—it felt like studying but was really a shortcut around actually buckling down and learning the material. Did it work? Well, yeah—it kind of did, but that’s not the point! I could have perhaps saved a boat load of time, ink (remember pens?) and joined the gang doing fireball shots (except !) if only I’d bypassed the shortcut for actual studying.
You know that old saying where “we are all doing the best we can with what we have”. Hogwash! This is a shortcut phrase to make us feel better for having taken the shortcut. Now it may sound like I’m being a hard-nose here, but even with grief—that really strong emotion no one actually knows how to handle—as the famous ‘they’ say, the only way is through. You cannot outrun or outsmart it; the “Grief Statute of Limitations”–where Grief attempts to prosecute but the evidence is moot–does not exist, and the prison which awaits us is the one we build around the walls of our hearts when we think we are taking the quick jaunt around.
The bottom line on my brief examination of shortcuts?
When you’re always looking for the shortcut you’re bound to get hurt.
When you go around something instead of through, you may have saved a minute, money, or initial effort, but like the coral that caught me surfing where I didn’t belong, sometimes shortcuts cut deep.