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My elevators at work have those mini-televisions on the wall that broadcast things like the latest news, stuff happening in the building, etc. This also includes a seemingly cute Word of the Day thing that is actually evil if you know what’s really going on, which is that someone in this building is getting paid to pick words, define them and then use them in a sentence and, Christ, I want to know who they are so I can take their job. They’re either being hilarious and awesome and this is a big joke behind everyone’s back that I deserve to be in on. Or they genuinely think they’re helping people sound more intelligent.

If it’s the latter, that’s awful. I get so mad sometimes because Word of the Day is encouraging a life skill that should be avoided at all costs should one ever want to get laid by an actual human with a pulse who does not need batteries or an air-pump to function properly. It’s teaching them that, as long as the sentence is *technically* grammatically correct, they’re golden. It doesn’t teach them anything about incorrect word use or HORRIBLY awkward sentence structure or how to properly impress the ladies by not sounding like a giant weirdo. I bet some people actually read these things and then use these words in every day life because the elevator told them to and it’s not right to do that to someone who doesn’t know any better. Yeah, the outcome can sometimes be HILARIOUS. But my life is the perfect example of how “right” and “hilarious” are very rarely in the same room together.

All joking aside, it’s like this person actually wants to raise an army of awkward virgins or something. Not that this isn’t a completely valid life goal to have, but I think these people should at least consent to being a part of your awkward virgin army and not be tricked into it by using your Word of the Day in casual conversations around the office water cooler. I mean, there are people who work in this building who don’t know the first thing about English, and I am not talking about those who speak it as a second language. No, there are people who don’t know the rules of grammar or proper sentence structure and they think that typing a seemingly not-so-impressive word into an online thesaurus just to find a seemingly more impressive, multisyllabic word to use instead is an acceptable way of getting around that giant, pink elephant in the room that is their life where they skipped English in high school and got stoned in the parking lot instead and it’s just not. It’s not acceptable. Ever. The number of emails I have to go through every day just trying to figure out what some guy with six figures a year is saying is how unacceptable this practice is.

Also, if I’m being honest, it makes me feel like a large number of people are metaphorically circle-jerking all over my university degree. Not everyone can “do English good”. Not everyone is built that way and, god, that’s *fine*. I accept that math makes me look so stupid I could cry. Is it so wrong to expect that level of acceptance in others? Is it so wrong for me to want nothing more than for you to admit that everything you’ve learned about the English language can be summarized by a cute cat macro? I don’t come into your house and try to speak math or law or engineering. What makes you think you can come into mine and do the same just because, yeah, technically I guess you’re speaking English. However, you go into any respectable English classroom and what you’re really speaking is a weird English/Klingon hybrid language and, I mean, yes, there is an appropriate time and place for English/Klingon, I’m not saying there isn’t, but that place is called Every Sci-Fi Nerd Convention Ever and that place is not here in this moment, so fuck off. I mean, let’s just lay it all out there on the table so that we can move on and drink already because I’m *starving*.

I think I’d be fine if this Word of the Day person was just picking a word and defining it. I mean, who doesn’t like knowing what stuff means? Show me one person who *doesn’t* want to know what “anserine” means and I’ll show you a lying liar who lies (you’re looking it up right now, aren’t you). But to then use that word in a super weird sounding sentence means that this person wants other people to use it in a similarly super weird sounding sentence and we have innocent engineers working here! Innocent engineers who only know how to speak in physics and who look at these Words of the Day and figure that this is the way normal people talk AND IT’S ALL LIES, MY DARLINGS!!! ALL LIES!!!

If someone used some of these words in a sentence around me, I’d think they were creepy. I mean, why teach someone to say something like “Can I have a glass of sparkling dihydrogen monoxide with lemon, please?” when it would make so much more sense to just ask for a fucking Perrier and be done with it? That way, you wouldn’t sound like a total weirdo and I wouldn’t have a stomachache from all that secondhand embarrassment and we’d have Perrier! Everybody is a winner! Similarly, it’s all fun and games telling someone that they have a really bad case of trichoptilosis. But then you realize that this makes it sound like they’re dying and they get all traumatized and shit and all of a sudden you’re paying for their therapy bills when you could have just said “dude, you have split ends, buy some decent conditioner” and avoid that kind of unnecessary drama altogether.

This is not to say that I’ve ever been out with someone who has asked for a glass of sparkling dihydrogen monoxide with lemon or told me that I’m dying from trichoptilosis, but it could happen and probably will if Word of the Day has its way or if I don’t get a goddamn haircut, like, yesterday. And when that happens, I will shake my fist angrily in Word of the Day’s general direction while trying to find a delicate way of subtly ditching my date because, dude. Seriously. It’s gross. That is a gross way to talk. Stop doing it. No one is going to want to sleep with you when they know you sound like that and then you’ll probably die from blue balls. Or become a serial killer. A serial killer who has blue balls. In his mother’s basement.

And, okay, yes. Let’s talk about my borderline perverted fondness for abusing commas and run-on sentences and there is probably, somewhere in this rant, something that someone will be able to point at and say “ooooh, look, a typo, who’s the English snob, now?” all annoying whiney-hypocrisy-cakes, what the fuck ever, they can shut up because, you know what? I have a giant pile of student debt left over from an English degree that says that I’ve earned the right to break the rules because I know what those rules are. I’ve spent time studying them, writing essays about them, and learning the proper way to break them. I know their function, I know that they are there for a reason and I know how to dance around those rules in amusing ways, whereas they only think they do and that makes them look like an idiot.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, this rant is why I list “grammar” as a turn on when completing all of my online dating profiles.
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June 2012

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