So this morning I was thinking about writing about how there are a few words that I’ve heard just too damned much lately. Like, curate. Like, life hack.
So in order to do my due diligence, of course, I went to the Almighty Internet to see what CV (conventional wisdom) had to say about 2018's overused words.
Here’s the rub. With the exception of BAE (which I only know because NPR did a story last week on a cool new spice called New Bae (https://www.primalpalate.com/paleo-ingredient/primal-palate-new-bae-seasoning/), the originators of which are being sued by the overly-threatened McCormick spice company, a suit they are likely to lose badly, but which in the meantime has rocketed New Bae’ sales to the ceiling, which is a really really good lesson in how being ridiculously territorial and churlish can cost you a shitload of money, and end up bolstering your competition’s profits, which McCormick is demanding but not likely to get, but I digress. I really hate run-on sentences. But that was worth it.) Here’s the story: https://www.npr.org/2018/12/14/676901068/creators-of-new-bae-spice-blend-sued-by-old-bay).
Oh, and because I travel to Europe, I also was aware that “bae” in Danish means poop. Which I find entirely apropos.
WHAT A BUNCH OF BAE, frankly.
Oh. Wait. Was I in the middle of a sentence? Yes I was. Let me rephrase:
With the exception of BAE…..I have never heard any of these words.
This is akin to standing in the (endlessly long and unmoving) 15-item line and reading the trash mags, only to realize you have no effing idea who any of these bland idiots are. I still think of Winona Ryder as a fresh-faced ingenue. She’s almost fifty, for Christ’s sake. Gawd that’s embarrassing.
But then, that’s because I quit going to movies for the most part (too expensive, for one thing, and for another, I am not fond of being trapped in a dark theater and pummelled with car ads at top volume for forty five minutes until my head aches, which is another form of torture-by-entrapment). What ever happened to cartoons and special features that made getting to the movies early so much fun? Like the propaganda war reels from the 1940s, today’s movie ads are nothing more than full-volume mind management. To wit: (https://screenrant.com/reasons-why-people-dont-go-to-the-movies-anymore-box-office/).
The last time I watched a movie I went with one of my best friends to see The Shape of Water. I was so annoyed by the ads and the assholes in the theaters, I swore never to attend another showing. My popcorn is a shitload cheaper (okay, a buck or so vs. $8.00). I have yet to see a movie that features a minion, so that very big part of pop culture has (blessedly) passed me by.
The other is that I largely eschew television, with the exception of sports, which allow me to hang out with the BF more often screaming at the set when some idiot muffs a perfect throw to the breadbasket. Being a lifetime football fan, I do give this some butt time, but that is largely limited to when I’m not out riding horses or climbing mountains or kakaying rivers or otherwise living life. Watching sports, however, is a sheep dip in being pummelled by ads for Large Trucks for Men With Small Dicks and Beer for Men with Threatened Egos and stupid, mindless ads about perfect people who take endless pharmaceuticals and somehow lead fabulous lives (https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/pharma-ad-dtc-marketing-2018-spend-TV-congress/533319/).
Well of course they do. Since a great many of us grey beards and Grey-Down-Theres watch sports (the LGPA tour attracts the oldest, thank you, but that’s because watching golf is vastly more powerful than Ambien at lulling people to sleep). Don’t listen to me, read: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-sports-with-the-oldest-and-youngest-tv-audiences-2017-06-30).
Oh. Wait. I was in the middle of another sentence. Since a great many of us (etc) watch sports …..and have this wholly unrealistic notion that by watching, we’re doing, we are remarkably surprised when our unexercised bodies rebel. And we’re so lazy by then that of course we want a pill to do the work. After all, Shaq is selling Icy Hot. Bronco great Ed McCaffrey shills for The Good Feet Store. Certainly we can expect sports greats to start pushing pills. It’s a natural progression.
Perhaps it’s just me, but it seems- and I may be just stupid here- but those of us who spend most of our time out doing interesting shit often don’t need or take those drugs. Um, because, well, we’re not ruining our bodies by sitting on our asses watching television (and at work at our computers), which means that we get pummeled with lies that say we can take a (only $1000 a pop) pill to be perfect. But that’s just me. What do I know? I’m old. But I’m also largely right:(https://www.thedailybeast.com/big-pharma-is-americas-new-mafia)
Oh, gag me with a spoon. (This also dates me. This is “Valley Girl Speak,” which peaked in the mid-1980s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valleyspeak. This is also the etiology of the word “like.” I missed the 80s since I was living in Australia, so these terms are still new to me. My god I’m ancient.) The only reason I love that spoon line is because (late great) Alan Rickman spewed an even funnier version in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves:
That was 1991, of course, back when it was still cheap enough to actually go to theaters. You know we’re old when our cultural references have pubic hair greyer than our own. I once had a young twit do this when she was vising my home with friends. I had a collection of some 250 shoes and boots at the time, and said that it was almost as bad as Imelda Marcos’.(https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-02/imelda-marcos-shoe-museum:-the-excess-of-a-regime/7877098) She looked at me in that pouty, innocent way of the very young and asked me who Imelda Marcos was.
Said young twit is buried in my back yard.
I’m clearly old and outdated and irrelevant if I can’t identify today’s most popular celebrities. This Marie Claire article says it all:https://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/a23863/most-followed-celebrities-on-instagram-in-2016/. I have no clue who most of these people are, have never heard a Beyonce song, and for the most part, especially with the Kardashian clan, only know what’s been force-fed into the mainstream where it hijacks me in the checkout lane.
But where was I? Oh. In the fast checkout line at my local Kroger store, reading about the Kardashian ass(holes) because I find it difficult to be entertained by reading the ingredients on a package of Tic Tacs.
It’s not just that I don’t know who they are, but that I am utterly stumped- upon being forced to entertain myself with Us Magazine while the mother in front of me drags her four kids to the candy counter because she forgot a bag of Snickers and I’ll just be a minute, which stretches into ten, because you can hear the screaming from the candy aisle that there’s an emergency about Kit-Kats, but there you are. Here: read about the latest relationship train wreck in the Kardashian clan. If it weren’t for slow fast lanes I wouldn’t even know who this monumentally moronic, vacuous and ridiculously embarrassing family is.
Was I in the middle of sentence again? Shit. Yes I was.
It’s not just that I don’t know who they are, but that I am utterly stumped to understand why anyone gives a shit about these people.
But that’s because I was born halfway through the previous century. Sure fire way to know I’m old. These people are about as interesting to me as the dead rutabaga plant in my back yard garden. They’re stupid, they make stupid decisions, they are vapid and uninteresting except that someone is paying them to be vapid and uninteresting, which seems to fascinate the rest of us, and inspire too many more of us to emulate vapid and uninteresting people.
For that matter, media pays certain people to be professional assholes, to be extraordinarily abusive, like Gordon Ramsay and president (small “‘p” intended, which refers to other parts of him) Trump.
But then, when we as a society can be motivated to spend huge amounts of money to emulate someone (please see the Meghan Markle effect on fashion https://www.elle.com/uk/fashion/celebrity-style/a25317167/meghan-markle-royal-outfits-report/), it says a great deal about how empty our own lives are when we bankrupt ourselves to “be like.”
Where was I? What’s this article about? Oh. Popular slang.
Out of the well-justified and deeply-seated fear that I’m still using old slang, I turned to https://www.ranker.com/list/90s-slang/elise?ref=inline&pos=2&a=42<ype=l&l=2715941&g=1&li_source=LI&li_medium=desktop-grid-inline.
Shit. Yes I am. That’s also embarrassing. Look, at least I recognize these terms. However, those who hear me wield them with that annoying smugness that means I assume everyone around me not only gets my meaning but understands just how up-to-date I am, give me that pitying look that telegraphs (damn woman, that is so LAST CENTURY).
Yep. The one I was born in about halfway through. It pains me to be so regularly reminded that I am old, out of date and irrelevant.
To coin a 90s phrase, NOT.
Hey, look. More people in America know who the latest celebrities are, as well as their endless plastic surgery procedures, than they have knowledge of basic American history (https://collegestats.org/2012/07/25-american-history-facts-most-students-dont-know/). You may know the updated slang, but please, you can’t tell me why the Civil War was fought, which side won and the benefits to a certain proportion of our population? Yet, you know who Snooki is?
Still, I was surprised that the terms hack and life hacks didn’t land on the used and abused list.
And curate. Seems everyone but everyone is trying to sound so erudite by over-using this word. It’s already shredded at the edges.
But life hacks?
The only article that I read recently that used the hack in a way that I not only applauded but also live by was in an issue of Outside Magazine (https://www.outsideonline.com/2349346/radical-wellness-wisdom-ben-greenfield). Greenfield, who is 36, is radically in shape. There’s a good reason. According to him, he “hacked his house” so that there are weights everywhere, pullup bars, and access to exercise every time he takes a break.
My house is “hacked” the same way. Now look, that doesn’t touch me with fairy dust. I could care less about “being like” Greenfield. But at least for once I saw the term used in such a way that it gave value, rather than the implicit promise (read: lie) that you can get results without working for them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_hack.
That, in a nutshell, is why I hate the term life hack.
If there is a life hack I might be interested in (other than hacking my home for regular exercise, which is already done) I might invest in a chip which regularly updates me with cool slang. Oh, and informs me about who all the new reality show celebs are who are pregnant with their eighth child out of wedlock with that rapist/bank robber that just got out of Attica who beat her to a pulp but is SO sorry and now they’re on tour to talk about relationship skills and their kids have a reality show of their own to discuss how to stir fry Tide Pods with snap peas and….well. You get the message.
After all, it is so very important to be up to date and not appear old.
Especially when I am so NOT up to date and I AM old.
Hell. It’s Sunday. I’ll see if there’s an LGPA tour on. At least that way I can stay up with popular culture, and know what toxic meds to demand from my doctor.
Except I’ll likely be sleeping. Because I already exercised my old butt off this morning.