In the preceding post, I discussed a word that famously stopped everything else in the news cycle for a few days and then mused about how people manage when they overuse such magical words until they have no further powers left in them. Yesterday, I heard of another word that brings abruptly dire consequences: Literally. No, I mean it. This one word can get you kicked out of a bar in New York (at least until it finally, truly gets demolished soonly). In some ways, this is no surprise, since much has been written about the abuse of this one word (such as in Forbes, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, to name a few venues). Somehow, however, it escaped Lake Superior University’s Annual List of Words to Banish (We’ll miss you “covfefe”–it was fun while it lasted).
Everyone has their line in the sand. At one point early in my professional life, I had such a special ire for “FYI” that I crossed it out whenever it appeared in front of me. For my husband, it’s any time a server says “Absolutely” or “No Problem.” Under his breath, he’ll mutter “It better NOT be a problem. It’s your job, pal. And ‘Absolutely’…that belongs in some swank bistro where they charge twenty bucks just for saying it. In case you forgot, this here is Pizza Hut!” Or put another way, “Right away, Sir” will do.
Post Script: As if we didn’t have enough examples of words that stop things up, Stephen King has declared “Amazing” to have outlived its usefulness (by quite a long time, it seems). I couldn’t help thinking of poor Spider Man, who has been celebrated by that descriptor for generations. Perhaps this is his opportunity to move on to something more alliterative…”Stupendous”? Anyway, I still think that there are times when “amazing” is the only word that will do, even if (or especially if) its purpose is irony.