I do not trouble myself with the delusion that I am cool.
Indeed, if there is one thing with which I am wholly comfortable, it is the vast gulf that separates me from coolness. The truth is that I have never been cool, will never be cool, and will almost certainly get daily tutorials from my children regarding the depths of my uncoolness when they reach the age when they would rather contract a wasting disease than be seen in public with me. The closest I ever got to being cool is when I lived in New York City, which contributed just enough of its glamour by mere association that I sometimes fooled people when I visited my hometown in Missouri.
One of the amusing things about being at peace with one’s utter lack of cool is to highlight this deficit. I like to do this on occasion by picking up bits of slang or youthful phraseology that sound silly coming from a fogey of my years. It serves to signal in a jocular way that I am out of touch with today’s young people, but am able to joke about it rather than becoming depressed at the passage of time.
A recent example was my occasionally saying “For serious?” rather than “Really?” or “Seriously?” to express surprised bemusement. Since “for serious?” is not the kind of phrase that one might expect me to use in my regular conversation, my doing so elicited the kind of mildly ironic smile from listeners that I was shooting for. (It is these trivial diversions that get me through my day.)
Except then, to my horror, I found I couldn’t stop the phrase from slipping out unbidden when I intended to use the more formal alternatives listed above. I started to use it… for serious! It had infected my vernacular like a poisonous little worm, and one I had moreover invited to burrow right in and make itself at home. Even now, despite concentrated effort to avoid doing so, every so often that noisome little two-word phrase will pop out when I mean to say something else.
But did I learn my lesson? No, friends, I did not. Because then I decided to pick up “totes” for a laugh. (“Totes” being text/Twitter-speak for “totally,” if I understand correctly.) I thought it would be totes amusing to drop that mindless little term into conversation from time to time in an attempt at drollery.
Except then I found myself accidentally using it when I totes didn’t mean to, which was totes infuriating and totes made me want to put my head in an oven. Totes.
So that’s my Question this week — have any of you found yourself infected with slang? Am I the only moron this has happened to (albeit compounded by my own idiotic choice to use the words in the first place)? Is anyone else’s vocabulary suddenly home to words and phrases that you’d just as soon evict?