Too Much Information.

"TMI," in modern acronym slang, is generally offered towards another person who has told you far more details about some delicate personal matter than you are ready or willing to hear. For instance, a "TMI" should go towards parents who share their sexual/dating proclivities with their children (ewww), the friend who tells you about her bout with the flu in very graphic detail, or the stranger on the bus who sits next to you and asks you to look at some weird mole on the back of his neck. No, people, no. Tee em eye. But sometimes, you are the recipient of far more worrisome levels of TMI, and carry a weight that you never intended to bear, and should not.

I suppose my thoughts here began to be prompted by the appalling, tragic details coming out now from the Penn State scandal. To me, all those who knew or suspected that child sexual abuse was occurring had both a moral and legal duty to go to the police and follow up until the perpetrator was arrested and the children were returned to safety. To me, there is no argument, no question, and no hesitation. But to them, all those who saw first-hand, all those who were told about it, all those who knew in their guts something was very, very wrong, to all those men at Penn State that had plenty of information to know that Jerry Sandusky was a serial sexual predator of young boys, it seems like it was all just a horrific case of TMI to be dealt with as minimally as possible, with the hope that it would just go away.

Too Much Information.

Sometimes it is the case that you hear something that is so heavy as to be almost impossible to process. There is that person in all of us who, to survive, will want to reject knowing, as to not have to deal with the fall-out of being involved. Humans can be very adept indeed at compartmentalizing painful information into manageable, hazy, easy-to-forget chunks, tossed way way back into consciousness, perhaps to never be thought about again. We make a decision at the time when we first hear: to act or to run away. There are some things we can't take on. There are some things we can. Where the line is depends on circumstances, of course, but more crucially, character.

Sometimes it is the case that you hear something that is more of a nagging, ongoing worry rather than a direct issue. How many times in your life have you known that someone was struggling and losing a battle with substance abuse or depression? Plenty, I'm guessing. What is the right choice, or even the possible choice when you suspect someone may harm themselves, immediately or in that excruciatingly-slow manner that is even more cruel? Do you wonder why they told you about their problems? Is it a cry for help, or do they just want to take you down for the ride to Hell? Both?

Sometimes it is the case when you know that someone is, to be blunt, no damn good, and can bring nothing but trouble and misery to others. They've got enough closet skeletons to fill 100 graveyards, keep piling them in day after day, year after year, but for whatever reasons, no one opens the doors. Do you wait for karma to kick in, exquisite fate, or eventual slip-up? Do you wait for someone else to say something first? Do you have an obligation to warn, or do you mind your own business and let the cards fall as they may for those unfortunately involved? Would you have wanted someone to warn you? Or do you think you would not have listened anyway, or been offended, or "killed the messenger?"

What do you do when the chains of TMI become heavier with each step you take? Can you ever really be freed of them once you have them anyway?

I don't expect to ever really know the answers.

The Kinks, "Too Much On My Mind"