In defence of the “unholy trinity” of slang

We live in a world of many vices, which for me include coffee and belting out “Pocket Full of Sunshine” loudly and out of tune with my sister. The online site/magazine Good often encourages readers to cut out vices and improve our general well being.

Each month Good chooses a new thing they want people to work on. Among these things they have included for calls to reduce the amount people drive. Apparently, this is hard to do in LA. I personally find this call admirable. There is nothing more depressing than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic waiting an hour to complete a ten minute drive. I could not survive this every day and still have the will to live. This is what bikes, transit, rollerskates and walking are for — even in -20 weather. This month they tried to get people to reduce their meat consumption. While I don’t feel a compelling desire to become a vegetarian this is also an admirable goal and there are lots of good vegetarian dishes out there.

Recently one writer argued that people need to reduce their usage of the words “awesome,” “amazing” and “ridiculous.” While she presented eloquent and well constructed arguments in the article I disagree with her basic premise. These words exist in their urbandictionary usages for a reason. They fill a need to communicate certain things, and if not these words another would fill their place.

Awesome exists so that when a co-worker hands me that thing I was looking for I can say something hipper than thanks-a-bunch or stand their awkwardly and quietly. It is short, socially acceptable and better than saying too much or too little. It is also far better than texting a friend a winky face or curt reply. Awesome says everything that needs to be said in a friendly and non-offensive way.

There are times when one doesn’t want to be too formal. When an articulate individual uses “big words” with the wrong crowd they can come off as being pretentious or just won’t be understood.One doesn’t want to be a show off.

Amazing and ridiculous also serve similar purposes to awesome — although I abuse awesome so much more. They are the perfect response in a situation where you need to say something but not too much.

One should never take oneself or one’s language too seriously. There are times when one should talk and behave a certain way. There are times when formal, articulate language is perfect and fits in nicely. Other times it is nice not to take yourself too seriously. Language is fluid and situational. It’s nice to relax and have some fun.

Sometimes you need to set aside your wonderful playlist of moving and mellow indie folk songs because your friends will get mad at you for putting them to sleep. Instead you need to bring out the Nelly Furtado. Belt out “Maneater.” Live a little.


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