Sunday, October 29, 2006

This post will literally knock your socks off!

As you know, I try to use as a vehicle for spreading the message of peace, love and total acceptance. But every once in awhile, I have to deviate from the path of righteousness and lodge a respectfully worded complaint or two.

To that end, I'd like to address those of you who use the word "literally" as a synonym for "figuratively"--the direct opposite of how it should be used. You people are driving me insane. Worse, you're making yourselves look like idiots. Here are a few examples of the dumb shit you are prone to saying:

I was so angry my blood was literally boiling!
I such a bad hangover my head was literally exploding.
Her house is so filthy! It's literally a pig sty.

The truth is:

a) Blood doesn't literally boil. Well, okay, it can, and maybe in the back woods of Missouri it sometimes does. But generally that takes place only when the blood is in a cast iron pot on the stove of a serial killer. If your blood were to boil while it was still inside your body, it would cook your internal organs and stink up the room mightily. On the bright side, you wouldn't be angry anymore. On the not-so-bright side, you'd be dead.

b) While hangovers can be a real bitch, they don't literally cause one's head to explode. Causes of literal head explosion include, but are by no means limited to:
-dynamite packed into the ears
-a grenade crammed down the throat
-two shotguns, one discharged into each eye socket.
It's pure folly to claim that your head literally exploded from yesterday's hangover, since you're still alive now to stand before me, animatedly yammering on about it like you survived the holocaust. At such times, I only wish your head had exploded so I could be enjoying some peace and quiet right now.

c) If you were to stop cleaning your house right now, and never lift a finger again to pick up or wipe off one thing, it would still never actually transform into a pig sty. It would become very, very dirty, and very, very smelly, but unless a hog farmer actually pulled up to the house in a pickup truck with a trailer attached, and dropped off several pigs and a trough, it would not literally become a pig sty. I don't know much about hog farming, but I know this: The defining characteristic of a pig sty is the presence of pigs. That's probably the first thing they teach you in hog farming school.

I don't mean to imply that I'm not a fan of ridiculously inflated hyperbole. I rarely utter a sentence that's not exaggerated to the point of almost total falsity. Why? Because real life is actually pretty boring, and the retelling of it is therefore usually mind numbing. But when liberally sprinkled with half-truths, exaggerations, and balls-out lies, it can become fascinating. So go ahead, exaggerate! Make shit up! Lie your ass off! Just don't take that extra, silly step of inserting the word "literally" right before a phrase that is, in fact, figurative.

Having trouble deciding when to use "literally" and when not to? I have a solution: Just don't use it. Ever. Say, "I was so angry my blood was boiling," instead of "I was so angry my blood was literally boiling." Nine times out of ten when a person uses the word "literally," they're using it wrong and crapping all over the English language. (Notice I didn't say "literally" crapping all over the English language." But that'd be funny to see, wouldn't it?) And there's a reasonable chance you might be one of those people who has no idea when it's okay to say it. So know your limitations and just steer clear of that word, okay?

This message has been brought to you as part of my ongoing effort to keep average citizens from doing things that bug the shit out of me. Thank you for your cooperation.


Mighty Dyckerson said...

Now wait a minute, you crazy babbler! I hope you're not telling me the bit about the severed hand sculpture was a lie! I already bought a nonrefundable plane ticket to go see it in person, and if I found out it didn't actually exist, I'd literally crap my pants!

blog author said...

it's kind of like when people say "i could care less".... well, if you could, then start caring. otherwise you "COULDN'T care less" which would be much more meaningful.

Kyran said...

I am figuratively laughing out loud over this.

acw said...

I use "literally" so infrequently that when I get to use it I'm alive with mirth and merriment.

Anonymous said...

I am LITERALLY printing this out to show all my friends. And I can say that because my printer is whirring and spewing forth ink as I type!!

dizzy von damn! said...

i'm just going to start punching people who say things like this.

they'll learn.

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, "ridiculously inflated hyperbole" is a telltale sign of prostrate cancer. And I for one don't think you should be making fun of cancer patients.

Anonymous said...

Just before someone less friendly points it out, there really is one dude whose blood LITERALLY boils. He's dead, but that's beside the point. And since it's so close to Halloween, I'll go into more detail -- San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples... it liquefies and sometimes boils every year. LITERALLY!????

Spaceman Spiff said...

I literally laughed my ass off at this. . . . and now I have no more use for my ass-less chaps. Well, I guess I am ass-less now, so they are actually even more appropriately named. But how do I re-attach my butt? I need it for walking and stuff. Plus, chairs are uncomfortable with no ass cushion. I am cursed with not being able to squeeze my cheeks together (since they fell off) so flatulence could be a problem in the near future. Wait a minute. . . . I have some duct tape around here somewhere. . . . problem solved.

Nature Girl said...

You literally make me laugh every time I read your blog! stacie

CommonWombat said...

Reading your thoughts makes me literally vomit until I'm regurgitating chunks of my own intestines.

I'm not being ironic there. You'll be recieving the hospital bill.

tfg said...

I'm going to post a comment so funny that it will literally knock your tits off. Oh, wait...

Anonymous said...

At least "literally" is a real word. "ir-regardless", now that's another matter.

... Paige said...

At the end of your post is this... "This message has been brought to you as part of my ongoing effort to keep average citizens from doing things that bug the shit out of me. Thank you for your cooperation."
Don't you mean to say 'figuratively bug the shit out' or or is really literally?
Cause if that is the case you may need to buy some of those depends, adult diapers.
Poor Jake

Ben said...

I would never choose to debate your NINtelligence KB... now your off the wall GTalk status messages, that's a different story.


Anonymous said...

I am in complete agreement. *I* am particularly bothered by the 'hilarious/hysterical' one. Was the person hilariously funny or was that person spinning in circles with fluids literally flying out of every orifice?!

Anonymous said...

You need to learn some science, kiddo. Their blood could never boil ... their skin would pop and create an Army of Darkness goo shower long before that.

For your next post you could go after idiots who use "beg the question" as if it means "demanding that the question be asked." I haven't been able to find the idiot who first did that but so far I have traced it to a Newsweek reporter in 1998. When I find the culprit, hand me my pistol.

Margaret said...

If I ever start my own charity, I'm going to hand out dictionaries and full lenght mirrors.

Violet said...

I'm totally with you.

Another one of my pet peeves is the misuse of the word "ironic" when somebody really means "coincidentally."

puerileuwaite said...

Do Not Use The Word Literally
Or You May Be Subject To A $500 Fine
And/Or 10-Days Of Community Service In A Public Library Working Alongside Karla


I'll have the signs made up.