There is no gentle way of saying this, my Bearcat brothers and sisters, but this is long overdue. I’ll put it bluntly: Your communicative abilities have been annihilated by the word “like.”
A dose of old-fashioned, face-slapping honesty is in order here, so I’ll just come out with it: To those who are hopelessly addicted to the dope that is the word “like” — you sound stupid. You come off as illiterate, and you’re making the rest of us embarrassed to be American. If you say “like” more times in a sentence than all other words combined, or if you find yourself starting sentences that are not comparative in nature with the word “like,” maybe you should seriously consider inventing a whole new language of your own because we don’t want you using ours anymore. At least then a few skinny-jeaned hipsters might actually show you some respect when you speak your gibberish.
It needs to be said that your addiction to “like” is killing you and killing us, and I beg you to seek help. Do it for the children. In case you are somehow unaware that you’re a “like” addict, consider this your official wake-up call — an intervention on behalf of the English language. And if this offends you, then it is precisely you for whom the offense is intended.
I was on an overcrowded Off Campus College Transport bus the other day, and unfortunately I couldn’t help but overhear a troubling conversation between two young female students standing close to me. Keeping in mind that this example could just as easily be two guys, allow me to expose a short snippet from their incessant and barely coherent exchange. One girl said, “Like, I told him, like, ‘I’m not like having sex with you tonight. Like, literally, I just met you.’ Like, I was confused though, like, he was like totally hot.” I’m not exaggerating here; this is how she talked. As she went on, I found my face and neck getting hot with hatred, every “like” stabbing my brain with hot, angry word needles, deeper and deeper until I started to feel sweat accumulate on my forehead. Just when I thought I was going to stroke out, her friend chimed in and it was worse! By this point, white-hot rage was taking over. I clutched my heaving chest and told myself, “Breathe, old buddy, don’t wile out, you’re so close to getting that degree. Winter session in the psych ward looks horrible on a grad school application.”
By picking on these two young ladies, I’m not at all suggesting or advocating for a fascistic orthodoxy of linguistics here. There is no “correct” or inherently superior form of language. Plus, we all use infinitely variant dialects, we all stutter and stammer, say “ums” or “ahs” and misuse all of our words, both written and spoken, in countless ways every day. It’s not a perfect art. But come on, people. All I’m suggesting is to slow the “like” roll. Check yourself out in a verbal mirror from time to time; you might find you’re not nearly as pretty as you think.
Lastly, for you “literally” junkies out there, this rant applies to you as well. Know thy language, know thyself.
Class 0f 2014