A New List Of Old Words | HumorOutcasts

A New List Of Old Words

April 17, 2014
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SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

It wouldn’t be another year if we didn’t come across lists of new words, something I discussed when the year was new. But what about old words? Now I’ve also found a list of words that at least one expert (insert air quotes here) believes should be retired. Next week, maybe I’ll find a list of annoying writing habits (such as the overuse of parenthesis).

One that made the list is the word “huge”, not because of the word itself but because of the way it’s been used. This is maybe nit-picking, a term that was banned in 1994, but huge does not mean very important or very interesting. Sometimes it’s used both ways in the same sentence:

“Astronomers have made the huge discovery of a huge planet way out where it shouldn’t be, in a huge orbit far from its huge sun.”

“We’re having a huge sale on king size mattresses! They’re huge!”

More accurate would be: “Oprah’s huge this year! No, I don’t mean her ratings; she must have gone off her diet.”

Or, “Is Rush Limbaugh still huge? Let me wave away that cigar smoke … yep. Dude, even talk show hosts exercise.”

Here’s another one: “The ___ cliff”. One commentator said he was happy we averted the fiscal cliff last year, but that it’s a horrible metaphor.

I don’t know if I’d use the term “averted” … that makes it sound as if the problem went away, instead of being kicked down the road, which is another overused but descriptive term. Still, maybe he had a point. Maybe we’re headed toward a fiscal concrete wall, or perhaps more accurately, a fiscal train wreck. This will be comforting for those of you who are afraid of heights.

Here’s one I agree with wholeheartedly: YOLO. The new generation can’t be bothered to spell things out, but for those of you over forty that means “You only live once”. Unless you’re James Bond, who only lived twice on Her Majesty’s Secret Service while sipping Thunderballs with Dr. No and Goldfinger.

In theory, YOLO is a great concept. You only live once, so work hard for that college education! Keep a good attitude! Pursue your chosen career! Make good karmic points, just in case you’re wrong and get reincarnated!

Unfortunately, in practice YOLO is used as an excuse for stupidity. “Dude – I’ll only live once, so I’m going to get so wasted and jump my skateboard over the shed and onto a moving pickup truck. YOLO!”

If you only live once, shouldn’t you want to stick around for a while?

Sequester means setting something apart, separating it. Well, it’s supposed to. Now it’s synonymous with that overused term, kicking the can down the road. Sequester, in today’s terms, signifies a group of elected officials who can’t be bothered to follow their actual job description, and so put off working on budget issues because they know they’ll probably get reelected even if they go on camera and call their constituents blind idiots. We should retire sequester and replace it with “bureaucratic dictator for life”.

Bubble. I used to like bubbles. They floated around, reflected the light, delighted kids and dogs. Now they burst and cause economic crisis, so off with them!

We had a tech bubble and a housing bubble and a stock-market bubble, and now apparently we have a bitcoin bubble. The longer a bubble lasts, the worse things go when it bursts. So here’s an idea for you to chew on: The federal government spending bubble has been expanding for a long, long time. Because we keep kicking it down the road.

The New Normal. It means things have changed. Well, things always change, people. I’ve been through a half dozen new normals in my lifetime. Forty, if you count clothing styles.

Bromance. Kirk and Spock, Han and Chewie, Starsky and Hutch, Goose and Maverick, Ernie and Bert … I could go on all day about guys who love each other like brothers, including Sam and Dean from Supernatural, who not only love each other like brothers but actually are brothers.

It’s living proof that two guys can be incredible close without being close in that way, not that there’s anything wrong with that way. But these guys spend all their time together without getting together – except in the infamous slash fanfictions that suggest Kirk would go for a guy who only gets in the mood once every seven years.

Then we have Man___. Man what, you say? Mancave, manplaining, mancation … manopause. I think I’m going through that last one right now.

Mancaves often end up being in the garage … to show you how out of touch I am, my mancave has a desk, computer, and stacks upon stacks of books. It’s my literary Hoosier Heaven.

I’m not sure, but I suspect the term was invented to give men a sense of ownership, now that they’re becoming more and more aware that they never were really in charge.

Here’s another term some people think should go away: online waiting room.

Apparently that’s where you’re expected to wait while Healthcare.gov spins around and decides whether to tell you how much higher your premiums and deductible are going to be. I’ve got news for you on that one:

It’s not going away soon, even if we kick it down the road and over a cliff.

 

Keep Calm ozma914

Here’s another one: “Keep calm and …” Okay, we get it — we’re supposed to keep calm no matter what. (What’s my fanfiction writing pen name, by the way, in an image sent to me by a friend from England.)

 

Mark R Hunter

Mark R Hunter is the author of three romantic comedies: Radio Red, Storm Chaser, and its sequel, The Notorious Ian Grant, as well as a related story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts. He also wrote a young adult adventure, The No-Campfire Girls, and a humor collection, Slightly Off the Mark. In addition, he collaborated with his wife, Emily, on the history books Images of America: Albion and Noble County, Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century or So With The Albion Fire Department, and Hoosier Hysterical. Mark’s work also appeared in the anthologies My Funny Valentine and Strange Portals: Ink Slingers’ Fantasy/Horror Anthology. For two decades Mark R Hunter has been an emergency dispatcher for the Noble County Sheriff Department. He’s served over 32 years as a volunteer for the Albion Fire Department, holding such positions as safety officer, training officer, secretary, and public information officer. He also has done public relations writing for the Noble County Relay For Life, among other organizations, and served two terms on the Albion Town Council. When asked if he has any free time, he laughs hysterically. Mark lives in Albion, Indiana, with his wife and editor Emily, a cowardly ball python named Lucius, and a loving, scary dog named Beowulf. He has two daughters and twin grandsons, and so naturally is considering writing a children’s book.

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6 Responses to A New List Of Old Words

  1. Bill Y Ledden
    April 19, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I’ve a new manager in work and his name is Eugene. He’s a laid-back, funny guy and is easy to work with. I met him on Monday morning and in the afternoon, a call came through to me from an unrecognized cell phone number. I picked up the phone and was greeted by a dude who said “Hi Bill Y, it’s huge” to which my reply was “I’m sure it is, who’s this” to which his reply was “It’s Eugene’ to which my reply was “If you think I’m going to call you “Huge”, you haven’t a hope so yeah, I’m all for getting rid of that word.

    • April 19, 2014 at 5:37 am

      It’s a bit egotistical, leading with “It’s huge”. Of course, if it really is huge that’s exactly what he’d be leading with.

    • April 19, 2014 at 11:22 am

      I can see “huge” being a nickname for Eugene, if the “h” is silent.

      • April 23, 2014 at 2:53 am

        Boy, I’m glad the H isn’t silent in my name.

  2. April 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Great list Mark, huge.

    • April 19, 2014 at 1:23 am

      Well, I do my best … after all, YOLO.



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