Q. What is T.M.I.?
A. Can you be more specific?
Q. T as in tee, M as in eminem, I as in eye.
A. You mock me.
Q. No. It’s just that people keep saying “Dude, that’s TMI.” What does it mean?
A. Well it could mean a lot of things. Off the top of my head it might mean The Monster Igor; Ten Million Idiots; The Mayonnaise Incident; Three Malodorous Intellectuals; Too Many Iguanas; The Mostaccioli Isotope; Tibetan Mushroom Insurance; That’s My Intestine; Tasteless Maroon Igloo; Typical Male Ignoramus; Touissant’s Marmelade Itch; Topless Moldavian Ichthyologist; The Mucus Inside; Therapeutic Meatball Intercourse; Twelve Misunderstood Iotas; Theobald’s Mitigating Imputation; The Mustard’s Insouciance; Thelonius Monk Ice-cream; Terribly Maudlin Inquest…
Q. Oh, man, that is way too much information
A. Or, as we in the information overload industry (IOI) like to say: TMI.
Q. Come again?
A. Well it could mean a lot of things. Off the top of my head it might mean The Monster Igor; Ten Million Idiots; The Mayonnaise…
Q. No, not that. What you said about TMI.
A. You mean in response to your saying “That’s way too much information.”
A. Wait. Did you hear that? It sounded like my mind cracking.
Q. I didn’t hear anything.
A. You’re absolutely correct.
Q. You mock me.
A. Look, TMI means too much information. It’s as simple as that.
Q. Wait a minute. T as in too. M as in much and I as in…um…
Q. Hmm. Of course. As simple as that.
A. And yet not for simpletons.
Q. I wonder if there’s something called TLI? T for too, L for little and I for…um…
A. Indiana. Yes, you could say TLI is the opposite of TMI.
Q. Can you give me an example of T.L. um…
A. Imbecile. Say you come home from work and there’s a strange man in your shower. You stand at the bathroom door and say “Who the heck are you?” And he says “I’m Bob.” That’s way too little information. When you say “What are you doing in my shower?” and Bob says “I’m washing my hair,” again, way too little information.
Q. What if it’s a strange woman in my shower. I ask “Who the heck are you?” and she says “Gloria.”
A. That’s a tough one. It suggests too little information, but in your case, I’m thinking that’s not a problem.
Q. I bet I could get more information by saying something like “Do you need any help getting that hard to reach spot on your back?”
A. But you might end up with more information than you bargained for.
Q. What if it’s my wife who comes home and finds a strange man in the shower.
A. Would that be you?
Q. It could be.
A. Well there you are.
Q. There I am where?
A. In the shower, acting strangely. Or maybe normally which, to your wife, might be strange.
Q. One last question. Is there an anecdote to TMI?
A. Yes. One day the king said “Someone who wasn’t me slept with the queen. Who was it?” And the Duke said “We weren’t really sleeping, so it wasn’t me.”
Q. Doesn’t sound like TMI for the king.
A. But the Duke broke the golden rule for avoiding TMI.
Q. You mean the antidote to the anecdote?
A. Have you ever heard the phrase “Silence is golden?”
Q. No, but my father used to say “Silence is hard to hear.”
A. There you go again. Too much information.
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