Let’s Ban Some Words

2013 is on its final stretch, and it won’t be long until we’re treated to all of the end of the year lists – like who in Hollywood wore the best clothes, or which quotes made by politicians were the most ridiculous (a tough one) or which kittens were cutest on YouTube.

Personally, I’m not much of a list fan, especially when it comes to celebrity culture, which I have no problem declaring is a vast wasteland meant to distract the rest of us mere mortals from the important issues of our times.

But there are a few lists worth mulling over, and, call me a word nerd, but the best one is the list of banned words – words or phrases that need to be put out to pasture immediately.

Thankfully, Lake Superior State University puts out a list every year that most civil people can agree on.

Topping this year’s list is the term “fiscal cliff.”

Amen to that.

How many times did you turn on the news this year to hear about the giant fiscal cliff we’re all about to fall over? One commenter wondered if the fiscal cliff was a real place- somewhere you could, say, meet for a cup of coffee.

Hopefully “fiscal cliff” will be tossed off the verbal cliff very soon.

And here is one of my personal choices for banishment: baby bump.

Why do people feel it necessary to refer to a pregnant woman’s abdomen as a baby bump? Must Hollywood reduce pregnancy to a trendy accessory- one notch below a Gucci purse?

Other choices by LSSU include “boneless wings” (can’t we just call them chicken pieces?), “bucket list” (too grim for some people), “spoiler alert” (if you’re going to ruin the surprise, then zip it), “kick the can down the road,” (used by politicians when claiming another group is neglecting their responsibilities), and “trending” (used by brainless news channels to let us know which kitten video, for example, is popular right now).

For a few weeks, I thought FOMO was an interesting acronym, which stands for “fear of missing out.”

(Not to be confused by its sister, “YOLO” which means “you only live once.”)

These terms are usually uttered before someone does something stupid.

Perhaps there are words or phrases that you should kick down the road from your own vocabulary in 2014.

Mine would be “whatever.”

My children introduced this word to me when they were 13 and it seems to fit perfectly into my philosophy of life, which is, “There’s really not much I can do about the way the world is.”

If my husband, for example, would rather go hunting than spend the weekend with me, I just say “whatever,” and what I’ve really said is, “My god that is a stupid decision.”

It is a declaration of exasperation delivered in a I’m-not-going-to-argue-about-it-way, because I am, after all, too above the fray to give it much more thought, or so I’d like to think.

Goodbye to passive and insincere words in 2014.

I wish the word “viral” were on the list, because some of us are tired of dancing babies and moonwalking pony videos.

The word “viral” itself is beyond viral.

(Spoiler Alert: I’d like you to know that my family invented the word viral. There is not a secret or a juicy tidbit that was kept longer than 15 seconds in my extended family.)

I’m sure we can agree on a few words we’d like to banish together (how about “spying” for example, or “drones?”) but the New Year will be sure to usher in a host of new Washington scandals and celebrity buzzwords that we can delight in banishing next year.

To which we can just say, “Whatever.”

Then again, YOLO.

Maybe it’s okay to enjoy them.