What is a telediario? Well, it comes from tele- (from televisión) and diario (“daily”, and thus an older, more formal word for periódico, “newspaper”). So telediario is the TV news program.
As you know, the news usually come on TV thrice a day: for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Therefore, for things that have a short duration, we say durar dos telediarios (like they won’t even live to see a third). Let’s see it in action:
Si el nuevo no deja de entregar las cosas tarde, va a durar dos telediarios.
If the new guy continues to deliver things late, he won’t last long [at the job].
– ¿Qué tal el gimnasio?
– Uf, es muy duro, creo que no duraré ni dos telediarios.
– How’s the gym?
– Ugh, it’s tough, I don’t think I’ll be going [there] for long.
Me fue fatal en el torneo de Starcraft, duré dos telediarios.
I did awful at the Starcraft tournament, I was out in a blink.
Note how it is used in a slightly critical tone. You can’t use it to talk about a fast runner completing a race, for example. You could use it in a boxing match if you were talking about the winner, but only in relation to how quickly they dispatched the loser, and an implied sense of the latter not being a good enough rival.
In a similar vein, when something is bound to happen soon, we say quedar dos telediarios (like you would say quedan cinco días or quedan tres horas for something to happen):
A este gobierno le quedan dos telediarios.
This cabinet is living on borrowed time.
Tía, como sigas fumando así, te quedan dos telediarios.
Girl, if you keep smoking like that, you’ll be kicking the bucket in no time.
The sense of criticism turns here into a slight doom – it’s obvious in the second example, but in the first, it is implied that the government is not doing their job correctly and might find themselves in an impeachment, or an abrupt internal crisis.
And yes, you can use it in dark situations such as:
El Papa está ya muy enfermo, no creo que le queden más de dos telediarios.
The Pope is too sick, his days are numbered.
Just make sure you are not saying this to anybody that cares about the dying person if you’re not sure how they’ll take it. As any colloquialism, knowing when it’s appropriate is key.
Originally published in Talk like a Spaniard.