Words of wisdom (in 30 Seconds)

I was all of three years old back in 1980 when George Lucas’ C-3PO stated so matter-of-factly that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field were approximately 3,720 to 1, to which Harrison Ford – portraying legendary smuggler Han Solo – replied, “Never tell me the odds.”

While I’m unsure whether there’s any truth to that particular statement (having never been aboard the Millennium Falcon), I will admit I’m beginning to feel the same way when it comes to the many issues facing our city, county, state and country, whether it’s climate change, politics or the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Considering the sheer amount of statistical data out there at this point in time – both for and against any of those issues – I can tell you my response is going to run along the same lines as Harrison’s in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

What I’m getting at is this – it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to get animated or excited when discussing any controversial issue these days, primarily because it’s now nigh-impossible to turn up any credible information – on either side – of any debate you can name. Put simply, I don’t think there’s much of a chance to actually change a person’s mind once they’ve made it up in this day and age. There’s just so much misinformation out there that people are willing to blindly accept, no matter the amount of contradictory factual evidence one could ever provide.

Except on ‘30 Seconds,’ of course.

As a die-hard fan of The Evening Sun’s reader reaction line since its inception, I have to admit that I’m sometimes (almost all of the time) amazed by some of the “information” people throw out there. Not to mention the hostility. And even though I’ll always get a kick out of both the print and online editions of ‘30 Seconds,’ it goes without saying that some of that charm has worn off over the past sixteen months or so.

That’s not to say, of course, that every ‘30 Seconds’ entry is all that bad, and you can typically find at least a few that are well-thought-out, intelligent and even – dare I say – entertaining. Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, to be honest.

Of course, the ridiculously silly ones have always been my favorite, that goes without saying. Years ago, I even had a girlfriend (gasp!) who would amuse herself by cutting out her favorite ‘30 Seconds’ entries, mixing up the sentence structure and rebuilding them from scratch. The results were always more than a little amusing, to say the least, and often went something like – “If I had a dollar for every time the garbage truck drivers scaring the little kids during the parade tossed those recyclables into the fountain on South Broad Street, I’d have to move north with the crows flocking downtown.”

Man from Norwich.

Actually, now that I think about it, that particular ‘30 Seconds’ doesn’t sound all that strange, really, compared to some. I mean, when you have people calling in to complain about the various television chefs and their use of garlic, the nuclear weapons being transported through Chenango County on Route 12 and the alien sightings above West Hill, entries that have actually been submitted in the past (I’m not kidding here), it’s kind of hard to define what one considers truly strange.

And while I’ll obviously continue to enjoy The Evening Sun’s reader reaction line, I must say I’m hoping that people looking for solid, factual information are doing so by reading the other pages in this newspaper, visiting some reliable website or taking a trip to the library rather than relying on ‘30 Seconds.’

Then again, it has been said that wisdom can often be found in the strangest of places.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian.

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