No, Poppy hasn’t lost her mind. I am just lamenting—in an exaggerated way—the professional curse of caring about exegetics and language; basically being an old-school English major in an Internet world.
To start, can we agree that the title of my column is 100 percent accurate. Why? Because a UFO is, literally, an unidentified flying object and not necessarily an extraterrestrial spacecraft, despite all the 20th century debate over fuzzy photos and YouTube conspiracies. Humans have been seeing objects they couldn’t identify for thousands of years. Perhaps they were merely rogue weather balloons or rabid turkey-vultures, but let’s just agree to call a thing what it is and move on. I would also like to point out the irony that if or when we confirm our first alien spacecraft, it will cease to be a UFO because we will have identified what it is. Just saying.
A friend recently shared this profound thought with me; when you watch a teenager texting 40 words a minute, you have to completely re-think the expression “all thumbs.” I agree. I will likely need carpal tunnel surgery on my hands soon because I wasn’t raised to type that way.
Recent life events have made me realize my million-dollar business is just around the corner and is loosely based simply on what I call it. I may make stuffed animals from dryer lint, or perhaps I’ll open a restaurant that only sells yellow food. Don’t worry… I’m just going to put the word “For School” in front of every item and jack up all my prices 300 percent. Apparently student is the most expensive thing a person can be in life, except perhaps a bride. See?… words matter. Two months ago I bought a birthday cake for 50 people at Walmart for $48. The bridal cake I served at my wedding started at $7 per slice and neither of them looked anything like the picture I sent. Despite the price difference, both were what the Internet lovingly calls a “fail.”
I have my television on a lot for background noise while I’m working. Right now there is a commercial touting the wonderful benefits of the latest miracle drug. I don’t remember anything about it other than the unnecessarily dramatic claim that “this has been proven in over seven clinical trials”. Now, I can understand if you did more than a million or even more than one hundred, but seriously… more than seven…? You can’t just say eight, or ten? I hope the manufacturer is better at chemistry than statistics.
News people aren’t much better. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “Over 34 representatives have voted…” Soooo, 35? And you get paid to say words?
My other favorite is, “Do not take [this drug] if you are allergic to [this drug] or any of its ingredients.” Really, Dr. Obvious? And I was so hoping to spend the day in the E.R. with an epi-pen. Also, don’t pet wild bears or stick forks into sockets. Right… got it.
I’m sure I’ll get an angry comment or letter about my semantic snobbery. The first time I mentioned UFOs in print, a person who didn’t bother to actually read the column wrote in to tell me how wrong I was about aliens. So when I get those I visit websites that collect dumb things people say on Twitter, and my confidence returns. Meanwhile, I’m going to go make myself some synonym roles just like you’re Grammar used to make, then spend the rest of the day posting memes like this…