SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
The Lake Superior State University 2013 list of banished words is up, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about it.
(I’ve dedicated myself in this new year to using one word every column that I don’t usually use, thus the “remiss”. And the “thus”. Guess I’m ahead, now.)
I know what you’re thinking: Why is it Lake Superior State University, coming up with this list? Well, have you ever been to the area of Lake Superior in January? Believe me, there’s nothing else to do unless you like skiing. It’s so cold that every year they get reports of dozens of frostbitten snowmen. (The snowwomen are too smart to go out in that.)
The first banned word I want to mention is YOLO, which I discovered two minutes ago stands for “You Only Live Once”. This is untrue. James Bond proved that You Only Live Twice.
It seems people are using the expression YOLO to do things that smarter people would not do, under the theory that hey – you only live once, so might as well go for it! (I’m fairly sure “go for it” has also been banned.) Well, they’ve got it backward. If you only live once, then you might want to stop doing stupid things so you can live longer.
It’s what Superman eats. If you know anything about Superman, you understand why he doesn’t eat greens, and also why his friendship with Green Lantern and Green Arrow fizzled. On a related note, I’ll bet the term “his kryptonite” has also been banned.
I don’t have a clue why this term – it’s a term, by the way, not a word – bothers people. I’m sure chickens don’t like it.
An expert at something should apparently not be called a guru, unless he’s, for instance, teaching transcendental meditation. Hey – I’m up three on my seldom used words!
I believe this originally came from Twitter, where if a certain hashtagged word becomes popular, it’s said to be trending. They jumped the shark when “trending” trended. “Jump the shark?” Yeah, gotta be banned.
What do you want on your bucket list before you die? Apparently you want the end of the term bucket list. It comes from the old expression “Kick the bucket”, as in “What’s on your bucket list to do before you kick the bucket?”
“Well, I want to sell my bucket collection.”
If you’re about to give away some big secret, especially related to a TV show or movie, it’s considered polite to give people spoiler alerts so they can stop reading, listening, watching, or having Toddlers and Tiaras downloaded directly into their brains. (Spoiler alert! The toddlers will grow up to need major therapy.)
Again, I’ve never been bothered by that particular term, although I do get upset at myself because I often keep reading, anyway. Still, it’s been used so often that it’s apparently jumped the shark. As has “jump the shark”.
It was great to say “tracking down Nazi war criminals is my passion” (although that’s not such a popular pastime these days). It was okay to say “Skydiving is my passion”, as it’s definitely off the beaten track – an expression that’s been beaten to death. However people started losing their – ahem – passion for the word when it became overused, as in “Lunchmeat is my passion” or, for soap opera fans, “’Passion’ is my passion”.
Job creators used to be people who went out, worked their butts off starting or maintaining a business, and became successful enough to hire people to work for them. Those people are now heaped in with various not so savory characters under the phrase “The rich”, which should probably be on this list, and the Federal government now claims to be a job creator, even though if it was a business it would be in bankruptcy.
If that’s not reason enough to ban the term, I don’t know what is.
Apparently, in this context, it means “repeat”, or “reaffirm”. Used too often in politics, it’s actually a blackjack term … hm. Gambling and politics, maybe it does fit.
“Kick the can down the road.”
I want to reiterate (four words ahead!) that each individual word is not banned – just the phrase. I’m not sure I could make it through the day without using the “the”.
The problem with this phrase is that politicians on all sides accuse everyone else of kicking various cans down the road, when in reality they’re all complicit in doing it. So we should kick their cans.
Complicit? Five! I don’t have to use any more big words until March.
Ah, my favorite. I used to use it to refer to the entire problem of government overspending, but over the last few months it came to refer to one specific deadline that Congress, striving hard with only two year’s warning, staved off just hours after their final deadline. Bully them!
The problem is that it’s not properly descriptive. A cliff is generally something in nature, while the Federal debt problem is manmade; therefore, the actual term should be maybe “fiscal concrete wall”, although that doesn’t flow nearly as well.
On the other hand, fiscal cliff is accurate in that instead of veering away from it, Congress left us dangling over the side, hoping the rope won’t break and make us jump the fiscal sharks below. And there’s a fiscal storm coming, so the rope will be getting fiscally slippery.
Oh, that reminds me – I want to add a term of my own to the banished words list:
I’m not buying tickets to a snowstorm.