It seemed trivial
Someone has no idea that what they know is important


(permanent link) added: 2011-06-25 20:04:56 sponsor: MrInitialMan (last reply: 2011-07-10 16:03:22)

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You never tell me anything, so how the hell should I know what might be important?
Michael, S.S.D.D

This is when someone knows a fact that would be of great importance to the heroes but never says anything, for the simple reason that that person has no idea the fact is important. A subtrope of Poor Communication Kills.

Compare and contrast You Didn't Ask, which is where the person who knows the clue also knows its importance, but simply wasn't asked to divulge.

The revelation of the fact may bring about Why Didnt You Just Say So, with "It seemed trivial" (or some variant thereof) being the answer.

Examples

Literature

  • Vimes has a moment or two of this in every book he stars in, but Feet of Clay and Thud probably have the most.
  • In the Dante Valentine series, Danny is forever begging Japhrimel to tell her things. He doesn't until it comes up in battle. When Danny asks why he didn't tell her sooner, he shrugs it off answering, "I did not want to trouble you with something so trivial." He abuses this excuse to the point Dante is often ready to scream.

Live Action Television

  • It seems like in House every other episode or so features this -- the key turns out to be something that the patient would have gladly divulged (especially as an alternative to the humiliating but irrelevant parts of his life that they unearth while looking for the clue), but couldn't see that it would possibly be relevant.
  • The Columbo episode called "Lady In Waiting" has a wealthy woman kill her brother and make it look like she accidentally mistook him for a burglar after he tripped the alarm system. Her fiance came to the house unexpectedly as her setup was unfolding. Only later did he realize (with Columbo's help) that he heard the three fatal shots first, then heard the alarm sound.
  • In the season one episode of Farscape, I, E.T., the crew is desperately searching for an anesthesia to use on Moya located somewhere on an alien planet, only to find out, at the eleventh hour, from a befriended local that its a common spice they used in their food.

Video Games

  • In Tales of Vesperia, Judith knew the truth about the blastia and how they were effecting the planet. Did she share any of this information? No. And when Rita and the others asks, "why didn't you say anything?" Judith's response (as seen during one of the private scenes between her and Rita) amounts to, "it didn't seem important at the time."

Webcomics

  • In S.S.D.D, Michael knows that British Intelligence created something called the Echelon Plug-in; he was given a copy of it. Unfortunately, Michael is generally treated like a Butt Monkey and has been so locked out of the loop that he doesn't know what the Oracle is or that it even exists. Of the group trying to prevent the Oracle from gaining control, Michael is the only person who is not from the future, but nobody else listens to him, so they don't know about the existence of the Echelon Plug-in. Only when they finally tell Michael what the Oracle is do they learn about the Echelon Plug-in; Michael makes a comparison of the two programs and the others realize that the Oracle and Echelon Plug-in are one and the same. In other words, the Oracle already exists in Michael's time, which explains a lot.

  • * Antimony Carver, from Gunnerkrigg Court. At the point of Chapter 33, she had enough information about Jeanne, one of the Court's founders, whose information was deliberately hidden or destroyed. This is even lampshaded at some point in Chapter 23 by Jones:
    "A lot of information about the origin of the Court has been lost or, in my opinion, deliberately hidden. If you have somehow come across information from that time, it could provide valuable insight. (...) However, such information is useless until properly investigated. When you feel you have uncovered the whole story, please, tell me about it."

Possible Titles

  • It Seemed Trivial
  • No Clue It's A Clue
  • I Didnt Know It Was Important
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