Must I?

My email in box is full of Hyperbole. Every business is trying to get me to open their email. The subject lines are often more intriguing than the actual content. The one that has been bugging me lately is use of the word “must”.

When I got back to the land of gmail I had an awful lot of “20 Travel Posts That You Must Read Today” … Must I?

I have lived happily and healthily for many years without doing so, including traveling a fair bit. In fact I recently returned home from a 3 week trip to China and Japan that was pretty nice even though I didn’t read them.

I think they are showing up because I did read several travel posts as I prepared for the trip (and procrastinated about other things). Quite honestly those that I read were pretty much a waste of time. Many are tips that either have been well known for years (rolling versus folding for example) or some of the more clever ones show up in lots of posts (using old contact lens cases to carry small amounts of moisturizers). Then there are the how to get free stuff ones, I read a bunch of those but truly they were the same tips repackaged: mostly about how to maximize airline miles by using credit cards. Or how to pack all in a carry on.

I like to read stuff, when I have time, I think of it as armchair travel and don’t really mind the repetition, sometimes I feel clever when someone tots out something I have been doing for years as if it is a clever idea. I just don’t like being told I must read something like that. It makes me feel rebellious.

Does anyone else remember the Shel Silverstien poem:

Listen to the “musn’t”‘s, child,
Listen to the “don’t”‘s,
Listen to the “shouldn’t”‘s, the “impossible”s, the “won’t”‘s,
Listen to the “never haves”,
Then listen close to me:
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

That, too, is hyperbole, in a way, but it feels like freedom not an addition to an already too long list of musts. Now I must do some dishes.

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