Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


I Haven't Slept a Wink! I Win!

Filed under: Personal   Tagged: , , ,

I get Details because a friend of mine used to work there, and now it just keeps coming, no matter what I do. I always read Michael Chabon’s column; other than that, I marvel at the masculine anxieties that drip from it like expensive sweat. In the current issue, though, there’s a piece to shout hallelujah for: Greg Williams’ “Being Tired Is Not a Status Symbol.” Why not take the pledge to try not to say you’re exhausted when you’re really more like…well, let’s let the dictionary-and-thesaurus widget provide a few good suggestions (click, if you can, to enlarge):


Note that the Oxford American Dictionary, which kindly provides this widget (one of my favorites), suggests that one might be “exhausted by battling a terminal disease.” I remember the cover of a book I used to have called How to Tell When You’re Tired; it had a photo of, perhaps, a coal miner, covered in grime. He was probably pretty knackered by dinnertime. Delivering a baby can merit “exhausted.” A Details commenter adds:
This is a uniquely American behavior as far as I can tell. I live in Europe and I rarely hear this kind of “bragging” from Europeans, but as soon as I meet an American, all I hear are “I am exhausted, I am sooo busy,” as if this is something to be proud of. It is connected to the Blackberry mentale, and the final-exam-week mentale. All it means is that you are unable to prioritize your life and take care of yourself. To be truly cool, one would make it look effortless.
Next time you revive, try out the phrase, “I’m not sleepy, and there is no place I’m going to.” But I’ll stop wearing you out with this tirade, which may well tax the easily drained.

There’s one more story I’m planning to read in the current Details: something (I can’t find it on the website) by Mac Montandon of Silence in the City fame. It’s nice to see his alliterative byline; in case you were wondering, he is not one of Sean Wilsey’s stepbrothers, just a nice guy who writes.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree