The Boiling Down

I’m guilty of it,
too,
but I have
always found it
intellectually lazy
when someone
thinks in
sound bites,
summing things up
in two sentences
or less.

As an editor,
I appreciate
economy of language,
an elegant simplicity.
If someone is
being circuitous,
I will jump in
and get to the heart
of what they’re saying.

Today I met
a seemingly bright woman
who was determined
to rid my every thought
of nuance,
to boil everything down
to either I did it
or I didn’t,
it happened
or it didn’t.

I was really put off by it,
until something
interesting happened.

I went to my
time-tested
defense mechanism
of dark humor,
and she started getting
angry and dark,
going over
all the horrors she’d seen
at her job,
and how I wouldn’t
joke like that
if I’d seen
what she had.

Well first all,
I’d probably
joke like that
even more.
I know how awful
the world is.
I’d rather laugh about it
than cry or rage.

But then it clicked.
How I’d rather
laugh than cry?
She’d rather
not think about it,
snap judge it,
and move on.

I never thought about
simplicity
as a defense.

-GD Butler

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