My head about exploded today when I saw an article* from Salon.com reporting that Webster, Macmillan Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and Google have all decided to cave to morons all over Earth and add to the definition of “literally” to include that it also can mean “figuratively.”
NO NO NO!!! And NO!!! You just can’t arbitrarily decide that because people don’t know how to use a word properly, that we should just amend the definition to include the misuse of the word. This is literary blasphemy. Literally.
I’m pretty sure this is just the thing Michael Stipe was talking about when he sang of the end of the world. And I’m not fine with it. At all. What are these knuckleheads thinking? Or maybe the better question is, ARE they thinking? I mean the Webster’s didn’t even add “ain’t” into their publication until 1993, and people have been using that since the beginning of time. I wasn’t really happy about that either, but at least that is its own stand-alone word and not a modification of a definition of a word.
Sure, it’s been somewhat of a thing lately for the reference books to be more accepting of slang terms, but I don’t really consider altering the definition of the word literally to include a misuse of the word as a slang term. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s been known to happen, albeit rarely.
After a bit of research, it seems as though Webster’s Third is where things all started going downhill. Not only did they add “ain’t” into the mix, they also pretty much made it so you could use “infer” and “imply” interchangeably. You know, because people just weren’t using them right. I guess it’s the whole “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality. Even the American Bar Association called them out on that, stating Webster’s was “devaluing the verbal currency of the English language.”
Listen up kids. When you say something like “I’m dying laughing!” don’t add literally to the end of it. That statement is a hyperbole. A hyperbole is “an exaggerated statement or claim not to be taken literally.” See what happened there? There’s no need to add “literally” to your statement because there is already a concept in the English language that lets us know you are not really dying – it’s understood that you are exaggerating for effect! We get that! Embrace the hyperbole and quit saying literally unless something REALLY happened the way you say it happened.
I remember flipping through the pages of Webster’s Unabridged when I was a kid. That thing was bigger than I was. There are so many words we have; yet we use so little of them. There is no need to take a perfectly good word and add a definition to it because people are too lazy to figure out the right word to use. And frankly, that’s what it all boils down to – we are too lazy to find the proper word to use. It makes my heart weep.
By the way, my heart is not literally weeping, because hearts can’t weep. That, my friends, is a metaphor.
*In case you want to read about the stupidity:
So as I was perusing The Yahoo recently, I ran across an article purporting some unexpected and awesome hacks for vodka. Being the connoisseur that I am, natch I had to watch the little video. I was expecting to see seven new cocktail recipes or something to that effect. Boy, was I disappointed.
First, I just detest the use of the word “hack” in place of “hint”. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the era when Heloise’s Helpful Hints was all the rage. To me “hack” suggests you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, you know, like hacking into someone’s bank account and embezzling funds or breaking into a Facebook account to snoop around. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.
Anyhoo, back to my disappointment over the obvious misuse of vodka around the house, the first of which was to clean dirty eyeglasses. Unless you’re drinking the cheap, watered down vodka they sell at The Krogers, I think it would be way cheaper to just use some regular old rubbing alcohol. Or spit. It’s free. You can also rinse your razor blade to keep it from rusting. You know, all two of you who don’t use disposable razors anymore. Vodka can also be used to make an ice pack flexible. However, if you get hurt, actually drinking the vodka might be a better use of your resources. Just sayin’.
Vodka just isn’t good for cleaning purposes, either folks. Apparently it can also be used a facial toner or added to shampoo to make your hair shiny. Again, I think unless you have vodka that’s not fit to drink, then by all means, rub it on your face and hair. For me, it would be more cost efficient to actually buy toner and shiny hair stuff because I don’t drink cheap vodka. The article also suggested vodka is great at eliminating foot odor. You know what else is great for that? Bathing.
Lastly, you can extend the life of cut flowers by adding vodka to the water in the vase. The flowers will be buzzed and you will not. Personally, I’d rather have a fine bottle of vodka than a bunch of flowers, but to each her own.
If Yahoo had asked me to write that article, I would have said the best seven uses for vodka are as follows:
3. Chocolate Martini
4. Dirty Martini
5. Lemon Drop
6. Vodka and Cranberry
7. Vodka and 7 Up, with or without a splash of cranberry
After using vodka my preferred seven ways, you wouldn’t care if your eyeglasses were dirty, your hair and skin were dull, and your feet were stinky. But wash your damn feet anyway.
Sometimes I wonder if people give any thought to the words that come out of their mouths. Especially when they are people who happen to be in the public eye and make gazillions of dollars. Surely such people can afford PR reps to help them craft a string of words to convey their messages to the public while preventing unfortunate mishaps with the spoken word.
Perhaps, Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t have a PR rep. If she does, indeed, have a PR rep, I would suggest she consciously uncouple fire the incompetent ass that lets her walk around spewing the pretentious, arrogant, narcissistic bullshit that comes from her mouth.
First we had to listen while she bemoaned how hard her life is and that she thought it would be much easier if she were just a regular ol’ working mom so she could do all her stuff in the mornings. Yeah, Gwynnie, the mornings are super easy on us working mothers. We can get all our stuff done while we are getting children ready for school and ourselves ready for jobs where we have to punch time clocks and risk losing those jobs if we’re late or God forbid we have to call in because of sick children. Now she’s bitching about how reading negative comments about herself on the World Wide Web is akin to going to war. It’s “bloody and dehumanizing,” she says.
I don’t know about you, but my heart is just pouring with sympathy for poor little Gwyneth. I can’t imagine the horrors her life must present her. I sure hope she never has to step foot in the real world because I am fairly certain she wouldn’t endure for more than 55 seconds. Wait, I just perused her Goop website, so let me amend that to 35 seconds. Because in the real world our recipes don’t include sea urchins and our closets aren’t filled with artisan crafted Guatemalan huaraches or $245 sweatshirts. I don’t even think I paid $245 for ALL the sweatshirts I’ve ever bought. Since I was 10.
Being called out for being the pretentious, arrogant ass you are is not bloody and dehumanizing. Losing your life because you are the wrong ethnicity is bloody and dehumanizing. A young girl undergoing female genital mutilation is bloody and dehumanizing. Getting your legs blown off by a roadside bomb is bloody and dehumanizing. Being physically assaulted because you are a woman, gay, black…is bloody and dehumanizing.
So, in other words, shut the fuck up, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Recently, I walked into the bathroom and saw this. My first thought was who cares if the roll is going over or under? At this point I just want it to be on the toilet paper holder. OK. I lie, I want the roll to go over. But how lazy do you have to be to not even put it on the holder?
I guess I should be thankful the holder wasn’t empty. I’d be far angrier sitting there with an empty toilet paper holder. Maybe this is a symbol that says, “Hey I was thinking about you. Not enough to actually take the time to change the roll so as not to inconvenience you, but at least you have something to wipe with.”
I know you’re busy and you have things to do. That’s probably why you couldn’t spare an extra 30 seconds to actually put the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder. It’s really not that hard. And if you want to really make your mom happy, all you have to do is put the toilet paper on the toilet paper holder. It’s not rocket science and really, it’s quite ridiculous how little one must do to make a woman happy. Or at least this woman. I guess I can’t speak for the other eleventy million of us out there.
A few days later, I found this. The roll was lying on the holder, so it functioned somewhat like it was on the holder. Granted it was rudimentary, but it felt like progress. I studied Darwin; I know evolution takes time. It made me somewhat happy.
About a week later, I find the roll finally on the holder! And in the over position to boot! Hallelujah! I think I may have even heard angels singing on high when I walked into the bathroom. I want to thank my kids for paying attention to my Facebook posts and adjusting their behaviors accordingly. I can only imagine this is what it feels like to win an Oscar.
Three years ago, I moved about a mile down from where I used to live. Don’t ask why I’d move a mile down the road, it’s a long story and not really relevant to what I’m about to tell you. Anyway, I moved and immediately, my new neighbors all welcomed me in the same fashion you used to see on old TV shows like Leave it to Beaver. I had lived on this very road for 10 years, and only one person had even noticed my arrival. But I move a mile down the road, and I get adopted into a farm family by people who are technically my neighbors, but if I wanted to drop in and visit them, I’d have to drive because I’m too lazy to walk that far.
After years and years, I finally hit the neighbor jackpot. I was on the receiving end of home cooked food, party invites, and random friendly visits. I loved all the neighborly visits, but the ones I most enjoyed were from Joe. Joe was in his 80’s, I think, and he’d drive over in his Subaru. I knew he couldn’t get around all that great, so when I saw him pull in, I’d run out to the driveway and chat with him while he sat in his car. Joe always made me laugh and his visits were a welcome distraction from the mundane household chores that were usually occupying my time.
I’ll never forget that one morning in December, just a few days before Christmas. I was a stay at home mom at the time, the kids were all home on Christmas break and I was trying to enjoy a morning of sleeping in, when I felt the dog putting her paw on my head, telling me she wanted to go out. I tried to ignore her, but she kept pawing my head and whining. Grudgingly, I got out of bed, and for some odd reason, I just happened to look out the window before heading to the door to let her out.
As I looked out the window, I couldn’t believe what I saw. My first thought was that I was in some sort of dream state and I just thought I was awake. I turned my back from the window, waited a few seconds, and turned back around. They were still there – two very large buffalo* were just casually grazing on the dead grass right in my backyard. I didn’t know whether to pick up a phone or a camera. Luckily, I did both.
I grabbed my cell and snapped a few pictures from the window. Then I picked up the phone, but I wasn’t exactly sure whom I should call. After a minute of thinking, I dialed Joe’s number. He owned a farm; it seemed the most logical choice.
Joe answered and I told him who I was, and then I said, “Joe, by chance are you missing some buffalo?” I was met with dead silence on the other end of the phone. I felt the need to say something more. “Joe, there are some buffalo in my yard, and I know you have a farm, so I just wanted to check and see if some of your buffalo were missing, per chance.”
Joe remained silent for a few seconds more, and then said, “Are you sure they’re buffalo? I don’t have any buffalo. Maybe they are cows?”
“No, Joe, I’m sure they aren’t cows,” I replied.
“Oh, you know, Sharon has horses. I bet Sharon’s horses got loose,” he said, matter of factly.
“Joe,” I answered, “I know what horses and cows look like. These are buffalo. My third grade teacher took us on a field trip to the Litter Farm, so I’ve seen buffalo before and they are in my backyard right now.”
Until the day I die, I’ll never forget what he said to me next. “Michelle, this is the strangest phone call I have ever received in my entire life. Have you been drinking?”
“NO!” I exclaimed, “It’s 9 a.m.! I don’t drink until after 5 p.m. I swear!” Apparently, there’s a nasty rumor out there that I enjoy a cocktail or five every now and then. And quite frankly, after the week I’ve had, I may just very well start drinking at 9 a.m., but that’s neither here nor there, and I certainly wasn’t doing that on December 21, 2011.
Since Mr. Joe thought I was a stark raving alcoholic lunatic suffering from hallucinations, I did what any reasonable person would do and posted my buffalo pic to Facebook and asked if anyone had lost any buffalo. Later that day as I strolled the aisles of The Krog, doing my grocery shopping, I got 800 phone calls about the damn buffalo, including one from the local newspaper, who promptly did a story about the stray wildlife in my yard, complete with my photographic evidence, which eventually led to the owner of the missing buffalo.
Luckily, the buffalo owner was able to capture his two wayward half-ton babies and corral them safely into his new buffalo farm 1.5 miles down the road, and minus that one lapse in judgment I haven’t had any more dealings with stray buffalo.
However, I do think the next time I run into beasts in my yard, I’ll be shooting something other than pictures…
*Yes, I know they are technically bison, so spare me the know-it-all emails. I chose to use the term buffalo in exercising my creative liberty and as homage to my redneck roots.
So, I was waiting for one of my many children to come home from track practice to start making my very nutritious dinner of chicken nuggets and curly fries so it would be fairly hot and what-not, and I look at the clock and see it’s nearly 7 p.m. I thought it was really odd for track practice to last so long. Naturally, as any worried mother would do, I texted him to find out where in the hell he was.
Needless to say, I think I just knocked myself out of the running for the Mother of the Year trophy. Is there a trophy for Most Mediocre Mom Ever? Thanks to Mrs. H for bringing him home! Now there’s a lady who knows where her kid is…and mine too.
So I was perusing The Yahoo today and one of the articles caught my eye. It was titled “The Nation’s Most Miserable States” so you know I had to read it. I wanted to see if my state made the list and, just in case I decided to relocate on a whim, I wanted to make sure I didn’t move to any of the others that might have ranked in the top ten.
Not surprisingly, my state DID make the list. We’re Number 5, which coincidentally happens to be my favorite number. So I’m really torn…I’m glad that we we’re Number 5 because it’s my favorite number (yay!), but I’m sad we made the top 10 in the list of miserable states (boo!).
What I did find surprising was that Louisana came in at Number 10. I hear tell they have drive-thru daiquiri stands down there. How can that be miserable?! Sounds like heaven to me. Plus, it’s the south and always warm and there’s an ocean nearby. Granted, they have hurricanes that wipe out creation every now and then, but still, they have basically what’s equivalent to a drive-thru bar down there. So even if you’re miserable, all you have to do is take a drive to the nearest daiquiri stand. Whoever wrote this list must be in AA.
Coming in at Number 9, we have Oklahoma. Now this I can’t disagree with, other than I’m surprised it wasn’t ranked higher in the list. I can’t think of one thing that sounds appealing about Oklahoma. I don’t even like their college mascot for cryin’ out loud. What the hell is a Sooner anyways? Plus, they’re in the shadow of Texas…it’s kinda like being Jan instead of Marsha. Sorry, Oklahoma.
Missouri wins the Number 8 position. I will be the first to admit I know not one thing about Missouri, other than Mizzou, and I only know that because I have a kid who is the Rain Man of Sports. Maybe that’s why they’re miserable. Oh wait, maybe they have an arch of some sorts, which again is the Jan to the Marsha of the golden arches of Mickey D’s. No wonder America is going to hell.
And for Number 7 we have…Tennessee. Wait, what?! I used to live in Tennessee and I absolutely loved it. It’s the home of my alma mater, the Austin Peay State University (Let’s Go Peay!) And yes, that is pronounced “pee” so just shut your mouth with all the stupid ass pee comments. I know it’s not a motivating cheer, but it’s my college cheer so bite my ass. And maybe it’s changed, but when I lived there, there was no state income tax. What’s not to love about Tennessee? I don’t get it. Great place to live. If they had an ocean, I’d totally move back.
Arkansas comes in at Number 6. I imagine it’s miserable to live there because it’s spelled nothing like it sounds. That has to be a huge bummer in every day life. Again, I’m sorry, I know nothing about Arkansas other than Bill Clinton came from here, so it can’t be all that bad. Right?
Rounding out the middle we have OH-IO. Woohoo! Go Bucks! We made the list because we’re angry. So what. You got a problem with that? Go fuck yourself, random over-paid stupid list writer. You better hope I don’t end up behind you on I-71. Just sayin.’
Number 4 is Alabama. I’m not sure what they have to be miserable about. It’s the south, it’s warm, they have good food, they seem to enjoy their football, and they have a cute nickname (Bama!). Maybe they have right to be upset that Florida hogged all but one teeny tiny portion of their beachfront property. I dunno. Other than that, I’m at a loss.
Mississippi is Number 3, and like their counterpart Alabama, some other damn state stole a good bit of their beachfront property, but in return they got a cutesy song for kids to learn how to spell their name. And everyone uses their state to count shit out…One Mississippi, Two Mississippi… So really, Mississippi, why you so sad? Drive over to Louisiana and have a daiquiri or five, for crying out loud.
Number 2 is Kentucky. Kentuckians made the list because they are the unhealthiest in the nation. They like to smoke and drink and take prescription pills. I thought these things made one happy. I, on the other hand, think Kentucky is a lovely state. It’s just a short drive from my house where one can buy Everclear, cheap cigs, and prescription diet pills on the sly. Road trip to Kentucky, anyone?
And the Number 1 miserable state in the nation…drum roll please…is West Virginia! John Denver just rolled in his grave. Almost Heaven West Virginia is the most miserable state in the nation. Apparently, our angry list writer was from Ohio and had never visited Detroit or Needles, Arizona. Let me tell ya, once my car A/C broke in Needles, Arizona in July and I have NEVER been MORE miserable in my entire life. Well except for the year I lived in Barstow, California. I’ve been through West Virginia many a time (usually on my way to the Redneck Riveria – Myrtle Beach) and let me tell ya, I’ve got no problem with The WV. Their state capitol building has the most beautiful sparkly, golden majestic top that makes you think you should be hearing angels singing on high as you glance over as you speed by on I-64. Trust me, I’ve almost run into a few concrete walls rubber-necking at its beauty as I pass through Charleston. The study cited reports that West Virginians had the least confidence in the US economy than any other state and greatest rates of high blood pressure. That’s probably because they work their asses off to put food on the table while watching the fat cats in Washington dilly dally around with policies that could change things for the positive for The WV.
No wonder their BP is high. Mine is too, now. Think I’ll go have a drink, pop some Rx pills, smoke a few, and eat some fried chicken. Jeebus.