Short on

To be "short on" something is to not have enough of it

Today's story: Notre Dame relics saved
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Short on

Why would you sell or give away the Crown of Thorns? For a Byzantine emperor in the 1200s, it was because he was short on cash. He must have been! He sold one of Christianity’s most important objects, so he must have been desperate. When you’re short on something, you have very little of it. So this emperor must have had very little money if he felt compelled to sell such a precious historical artifact.

Have you ever been short on cash? Of course, we all have been, at one point or another. But have you ever been short on time? Or on patience? Yeah, those two describe me sometimes. Monday mornings, my alarm goes off at 4:30 these days to catch a flight somewhere, I’m rushing around my apartment trying to get out of the house by 5:15 or so. I’m short on time. No time to water plants, set my thermostat to vacation mode, take out the trash—none of that. That all has to be done Sunday night because on Monday morning, I know I’m going to be short on time.

Short on patience? JR knows me—he knows I’m never short on patience. Nope, nope, nope. I never run low on patience—not when I’m stuck in traffic and can’t get somewhere on time; not when the web site goes down for no reason; not when my computer crashes. I’m not short on patience in any one of those instances.

What else can you be short on? Ideas. You just don’t have any more ideas for how to solve a problem. You might listen to a speech by a politician and say, that speech sounded good, but it was really short on details. Sometimes they prefer to put the big ideas out there, but not say too much about the details. In that case, you might say a speech is short on details.

Short on answers. If a kid comes home late, smelling of cigarettes, he might be short on answers when Mom and Dad ask what’s been going on. No good answers.

Quote of the week

I have a quote to leave you with, since this is Monday. The last few quotes have been really thoughtful quotes, from philosophers long ago. This one is from last week, by Mark Zuckerberg. Are you ready? “The future,” he said, “is private.” That was all over the news, as Facebook announced some big changes to the site. They are going to focus more on one-to-one communications, like around WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and they’ll change the algorithms to show you more news from your own circle of friends. “The future is private.” Every time I see people taking pictures that are obviously just for Instagram, I have to wonder about that … but we’ll have to wait and see. “The future is private,” says the boss of Facebook.


That brings us to the close of the program today. It never really ends, we just pause for a few days until the next episode starts up again. And lucky for all of you, you have over 150 episodes in the archive to keep going if you want! Thanks for being with us; thanks for all of your notes on WhatsApp. I really like chatting with so many of you on there. If you’d like to say hello, don’t be shy. The number to contact me on WhatsApp is +1 312 967 8757. I also send out the occasional link, video, or question to my WhatsApp contacts, so make sure to say hi if you’d like to get those. +1 312 967 8757 . And if you’re in China and you prefer WeChat, I can be reached on WeChat with the username PlainEnglishPod. See you all on Thursday!

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Story: Notre Dame relics saved