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The bore connection

By Nickunj Malik - Feb 20,2013 - Last updated at Feb 20,2013

These days, it is easy to be a bore. In fact, it is the simplest thing in the world; it requires no particular skill other than being boring.

A bore, according to the dictionary, is “a person who inspires boredom”. The use of the term “inspire” is puzzling because it is a positive word that has an undertone of motivation, encouragement and enthusiasm associated with it.

Boredom itself is defined as “the state of being weary and restless thorough lack of interest”. One can see very clearly that this is a lazy definition and can almost picture the tedious repetition the researchers must be going through while investigating it.

But in this contemporary age, if one looks around, boredom is a great leveler. It has people from every walk of life, irrespective of their age, gender or nationality, succumbing to the malaise. In fact, such is the extensive spread of the condition that the ones not afflicted by it stand out like an aberration.

Why is that? If we go by the earlier explanation for boredom, how is it that so many of us are collectively lacking interest? Does it have anything to do with concentration deficiency? Is our attention span getting shorter as our lives become longer?

Attention span is used to describe the time period over which one can focus on anything without being distracted. With the advent of the smartphone, social network sites, Internet and so on, the means and manner of our distraction increased and our attention span has decreased. Research has revealed that it is now sustainable for only seven seconds!

In those seven glorious seconds of being able to hold anybody’s attention, one has to learn to interact in a fast and effective manner. The rest is all wasted effort. Also, unnecessarily belabouring the point gets one into the bore category.

I was never encouraged to be a bore or bored. In fact, when I was very young, even its utterance was banned in my house. My mother detested the term strongly and clubbed it together with the other unspeakable four letter words. Just a whispered, under the breath exclamation, could also get one grounded for a lengthy period of time. Her ears, unfortunately, were very sharp and many a time I had to swallow the expression even before it left my mouth. To be bored or boring was a fate almost worse than death.

And so, to get around it, my siblings and I started using a trick. We would say we were tired whenever we were bored. Any boring person became a tiring one, with the result that for a period of time, all our mother could hear from us was our description of tiredness. She force-fed us gazillions of fish liver oil spoonfuls to make up for this shortcoming, but we persevered.

When I called my brother the other day, he was in an important business meeting. Our time zones do not match and I was about to go to bed. He agreed to quickly speak from the conference room.

“How is it going,” I asked

“Very tiring,” he muttered, chuckling.

“Tire them back,” I suggested.

“What are you guys laughing about,” asked spouse listening in on the speakerphone.

“Nothing,” we chorused.

The bore connection persists!

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