Living Under a Rock

Have you ever been accused of living under a rock?

The idiom, delivered on a note of sarcasm, is less a question than a statement:

If you don’t know about [fill in the blank], then you have not been spending time with your fellow humans.

Upon learning that I was possibly the last person on the planet to hear about a current happening which was generating gripping headlines for all the major media outlets, I wondered if I’d been living under a proverbial rock.

No, I hadn’t, but why had I missed such big news?

My following story gives the answer and offers some thoughts about being the last one to enter the conversation.

Oblivious to a Murder

My husband and I were out with friends when one mentioned a highly publicized murder trial underway. All the big-name media outlets had been airing live and recorded parts of the proceedings as well as hosting legal experts and other in-the-know commentators. As my husband and friends discussed the quirky main character (the defendant) and, quite frankly, the crazier-than-fiction series of events, I wondered how I could have been oblivious to the story.

The narrative was intriguing, but the hook for me was its proximity to my hometown. Hungry for details, I streamed a document series—a compelling and informative crash course—with a mix of reenactments and interviews of the actual people involved. Considering all the deep family ties to a region where so many lives were intertwined, I assumed correctly that I knew some people who knew other people who were related to the case in some manner. Thus, after catching up to everyone else, I had to know: how would justice be served?

Nine days later, when the jurors returned to the courthouse, they not only satisfied the judge with a quick verdict but also delivered a gift to reporters and eager audiences: a  just-in-time-for-primetime broadcast. Accordingly, when my husband announced that the drama would soon go live, wild horses couldn’t have dragged me from the television. Ultimately, the defendant was found guilty on all counts, leaving me only to hope the victims would feel vindicated and find closure.

That’s when I had an aha moment about living under a rock. My usual sources for news had been covering other pertinent stories that I’d missed while I’d temporarily joined the crowd to watch the spectacle. Further, what I had gained from watching?

If anything, I could begin to see other rock dwellers in a different light.

  • Some were gathering their intelligence from sources that reported on different kinds of people and events, possibly via lenses that would not comport with a commonly expressed narrative.
  • Some were focusing on information which they deemed important and blocking out what they viewed as nonessential chatter.
  • Some were tuning out because the communications conflicted with their core beliefs or disturbed how they chose to live.
  • Some were standing on their rocks to ponder the bigger picture rather than fixate on the minutiae.

For many logical reasons, most of us will wonder at some point why we’re the last to know. In other instances, we’ll be the ones to break the news. Let’s remember:

  • Knowing sooner doesn’t necessarily equate to being more astute.
  • Hot news isn’t always relevant information.
  • A perceived duty to educate others doesn’t guarantee they’ll have a yearning to learn.

Finally, those who’ve newly emerged from their rocks can offer fresh perspectives that benefit the people who been absorbed in the subject matter for a longer period.

Sallie W. Boyles, a.k.a. Write Lady

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