EVERYONE HAS SEEN a photograph of a campus quad. The requisite red brick buildings, the sidewalks at 90 degree angles to one another, and the ever-present diagonal path worn across the grass by students hurrying to class, what is known in the vernacular as a shortcut.
Shortcuts are a part of our lives in many ways. A shorter, quicker, easier way to get to a place. There are keyboard shortcuts, iPhone shortcuts, Photoshop shortcuts, and even a shortcuts.net where one can seek “smarter business technology.” There is a movie titled “Short Cuts” about the day-to-day lives of some suburban LA residents (perhaps that’s why you’ve never heard of it).
If you’ve watched enough TV you know from the medicine ads that we have an ever-increasing number of pharmacological wonders known by the shortcut initials of the maladies being treated: ED (erectile dysfunction), RA (rheumatoid arthritis), COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), LBL (light bladder leak), OIC (opioid induced constipation) to name a few, and of course, our favorite, UC (ulcerative colitis).
Sometimes we can appreciate the need for such abbreviated references, as with the degenerative brain disease many ex-pro football players suffer from, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
CliffNotes study guides were the classic educational shortcut when I was in school. I have no idea if they still exist; I’d guess yes. These were for the students looking for a shortcut, who didn’t want to read the actual book. As an English major, I had nothing but contempt for them.
Is life really so hectic that we need all these shortcuts? Half of couples that get married end up getting divorced, the ultimate shortcut substitute for actually making an effort for the marriage to work.
Most people figure that it’s just easier to get from Point A to Point C directly, bypassing Point B. They never get to experience the pleasures of traveling from A to B and B to C. Who knows… the longer road may be the better one.
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