Today’s words are multitaskers. Not only do they communicate – they must conjure images within our minds and speak deep into our souls.
Our modern vocabulary includes words such as: engage, equip, connect, story, journey, genre, savvy, galaxy, kudos, mode, millennial…
More than picturesque, these words evoke (ah, there’s another one) emotion passion in our language, because we want to connect with our audience. Because almost everyone has a platform, and so much of our lives now are on center stage.
More pictures? Again? Good grief, you just took pictures ten minutes ago. And you look the same now as you did then.
But… I shouldn’t say good grief. It’s so Charlie Brown.
It used to be called the generation gap, a culture gap – this way of viewing life and thinking and communicating on different levels.
I know because we had a surprise baby, who grew up to be a teen-ager, who felt awkward with her friends’ parents being a lot younger than hers. Like, they weren’t born till we were in high school.
But, hey… I tell her. By the time you came along we were smarter. Be thankful.
And it keeps the Preacher and me connected with the younger generations.
Okay. Maybe not that connected.
Anyway… I now work with an amazing group of brilliant Christians Christ-followers all younger than me. Their hearts are huge, their ideas inspiring. And they are passionate about their work vocation and their faith the Kingdom. Most of our team members are either writers or speakers, leaders, motivators, or all of the above, meaning our choice of words is crucial. Because words not only have value, they have power. And the right use of words can mean life or death to an organization.
But it didn’t take me long to realize, they don’t use the same words I do. When their generation writes or speaks, the words they reach for are more descriptive. (Note: strike-throughs above are my words, but the words following are theirs.)
It’s time to re-educate myself. Like, nobody says very or was anymore, because those words are bland. They don’t do anything for the hearer or the reader. They just sit on a page and take up precious space that could be better used for intelligent, beautiful, soul-stirring words that transform minds, secure themselves within our hearts, and generate unforgettable dialogue.
Have you noticed how attached we become to our words? The last thing we want is someone messing with them, because our words belong to us. They’re the offspring of our thought processes.
And I understand this, because I love words. Which is why I need a good reason to add or delete a beloved word or phrase from my vocabulary. And I don’t make a habit of saying things just because all the cool people say those things.
(But things is a boring word, too. So scratch that sentence.)
Today when hanging out with the thirty-something crowd, their kiddos are referred to as spawn, free-range means unstructured play,
a tee-shirt and yoga pants are the current stay-at-home-mom-look, freaking is a parent-approved f-word, and Hubs has replaced Hubby.
I have no idea how these changes took place. But we only watch movies at our house, and mostly classics or BBC. Not much television.
Which explains why I’m lagging behind, and why the Preacher says, My word! when something goes wrong.
And why I don’t call him the Hubs.
Some people refuse to change their vocabulary, though. This isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Oops. There’s that word again.
In between spouting theology, the Preacher interjects words that grate on my senses – like Bubba and cool beans.
And his favorite saying?
Like minds think alike.
No. It’s great minds think alike, I tell him.
Yeah, but like minds do think alike.
But that’s not the saying.
But it’s my saying.
*groan* *eyes roll*
I’ll admit… occasionally I say, very cool or yeah, baby, just because I love the way the syllables slip over my tongue and surround my personal space with a youthful ambiance. And since I’m not getting any younger, that’s a good thing. Oops. I mean, a good feeling. Or is it an aura?
But #1 girl disagrees.
It’s so 90s, Mom. And if you keep saying Yeah, baby, I’ll start saying, Groovy.
(She was born in the 90s. Which in her mind makes her the only good thing that came from the 90s.)
Oh, please. Not Groovy. It’s so 1960s.
Beaucoup is another word that grates. Like, He made beaucoup bucks as a waiter last summer. It’s dead now and has been dead for years, but some people still use it, and keep trying to bring it back to life. They don’t understand that once something is dead, it should remain dead. Not only does it stink give off an offensive odor – it’s a sign you haven’t progressed into the 21st century. Which is so un-cool.
And everyone who’s anyone knows being cool is everything.
But what exactly does cool mean? Not sure, but what I do know is:
No one under forty says hot anymore to describe how she feels, because that word has morphed and now applies to a person’s looks. And only someone really arrogant would describe herself that way.
But it’s beyond awesome if someone says you are hot!
So instead, the teen says, *fanning herself* I’m so over-warm. (?!?)
I had to actually stop and think about that one.
What we do know is: everything is awesome. Except that now, awesome has been used so (over) much – thanks to the Lego movie, a favorite of geeks. But it’s okay if you’re a hot geek, because that’s really cool.
So now they say killin’ it, instead of awesome, which means the same thing, but has been reinvented so the speaker sounds cooler, smarter, more original and nothing like the previous generation.
Because we all know, using archaic words from the Dark Ages (aka, twenty-plus years ago) is like trying to revive the dead, which we already discussed, and which is totally un-cool, meaning the exact opposite of totally adorable. Which in the recent past was shortened to totes adorbs.
But saying totes-adorbs if you’re over the age of 14, means you could be banned from social circles altogether! I know, because I tried it once. You wouldn’t believe the looks I got!
Remember when everything that wasn’t good was gross? And when everything cool became hot? And then hot became bad (the good bad – not the bad bad), and bad turned rad. Then things got wicked, then wicked sweet. And when things got gnarly, they went from epic to sick and to chill and back to hot again. And now everything’s mad. (And everyone. But that’s another subject.)
Now mad replaces very and dat means that, and the fam is my family, uber is way beyond super, chill is like really cool, and hot is drop-dead-gorgeous (but not the opposite of cold, because that’s over-warm).
And now some people’s children sound like jungle natives from New Guinea. Gimme dat mad chill ting, kk bae?
(Kk means okay, and bae is a term of endearment, short for babe or before anyone else.)
But truth be told, cool is still cool and will probably be cool for a lo-o-o-ong time. Aren’t you glad some things never change?
Argh! There’s that word again!