In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.
Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more columns by Palmer here.
Steamboat Springs According to the second edition of the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary, there are 171,476 words currently in use in the English language. However, after a three-day holiday weekend, only three words were used in my household: "awesome," "dude," and "I-need-more-fireworks" (said with such speed it sounded like one word).
"I-need-more-fireworks" doesn't bother me. I hear it for only a week. I give him a budget and one trip to the fireworks stand, and that's it.
However, I am tired of "awesome" and "dude." Word weary. I am tired of them used individually.
I am tired of them used together.
"That's awesome, dude" or "Dude, that's awesome."
Occasionally, there are slight variations. Dude sometimes can be the second word in the sentence, such as, "Seriously, dude, my fireworks were awesome." A pause. A look of panic. And then, "Dude : um : I : mean : Mom, I-need-more-fireworks."
No matter how they are used, "dude" and "awesome" annoy me as much as the sound of nails on a blackboard.
When my 11-year-old son is with a friend, they are incapable of starting a sentence without using the word "dude." They look like two bobble-heads having a conversation that goes something like this:
"Dude, what do you want to do today?"
Timeout while Mom yells, "No gaming on a nice summer day!"
"Dude, how about going to the pool?"
"Dude, we need a ride."
"Dude : um : I : mean : Mom, can you give us a ride?"
"Dude, Mom to the rescue again!"
"Awesome" has become the standard response to everything, awesome or otherwise. Can't we give these two words a rest, usher them off onto the sidelines and welcome something new?
Awesome has been so overused it's lost all meaning. How awesome can something be if awesome has no meaning? According to the aforementioned esteemed dictionary, awesome is an adjective meaning, "inspiring awe" or "excellent." Today, awesome can be used as a response to any situation good or bad. It is interchangeable.
"I took a gnarly bike ride today."
"At the bottom I did an endo and crashed."
"Got five stitches in my face and broke my leg."
These two words need to be given a free membership in AARP, a one-way ticket to Arizona where they can play unlimited golf and enjoy retirement. Can't you just picture them down there in the heat?
Awesome: Dude, awesome putt.
Dude: Awesome, we can't say awesome anymore, we're retired.
Awesome: But that's my name, dude.
Dude: Sorry. This annoying mother in Steamboat Springs got tired of us and sent us down here.
Awesome: That's so lame.
Dude: Careful, that will be the next word to go.
Awesome: But it was fun being popular.
Dude: You're repeating yourself. We just had that conversation last night with swell and keen. No one uses those words anymore, either.
Awesome: What's going to happen to us?
Dude: Put on more sunscreen and quit worrying about it.
A computer makes it easy to get rid of a word. With one stroke I can zap it right into oblivion. If only it were as easy to delete words from the English language and my son's vocabulary. I guess I should be glad he's still talking to me, his dude-mom. In a few short years, he'll be a teenager and I'll morph into enemy-mom.
So just to be fair, I asked him what words he was tired of hearing.
Clean. Your. Room.