Words I’m Addicted To

Essay

Like a smoker who wants to quit but keeps going back, I have a handful of words I would like to strike from my vocabulary.

SO:
I simply use this word far too much both in speaking and in writing. It is my “um”, It is also a warning sign that I am about to talk about something that I think is important.

NEED:
My wife tells me this word provokes anxiety when used in commands such as “You need to pick up your clothes.”  We think we need stuff in our lives; the need for a bigger TV or a new pair of shoes is not a need but rather a want.  So, if we replace want with need then the problem should be solved. Perhaps not though. How am I going to convince my wife I need to get that new backpack if I replace it with want?  Using want–makes my argument far less convincing, and it is on shaky ground to begin with.

HURRY UP:
It is no secret that kids lollygag, a lot. But I lollygag a lot too, I just happen to be the one with the car keys so it makes it ok.  Sometimes my agenda, say at bedtime, dictates no lollygagging, I want to get the kitchen clean so I have some me-time before my lights out. But the boys are stalling and I’m getting frustrated, so I wander into the other room and stare at Instagram. Now I am stalling. It just occurred to me that I could be using this time to clean the kitchen.   Brilliant!

BE CAREFUL:
Really who do you know who is not careful?  In general, people, don’t set out to hurt themselves. Their assessment of risk to reward might seem skewed but this just gives you a teachable moment. But that does not mean they are not being careful. Instead of constantly telling the boys to be careful, I try to tell them to be mindful. It is a very trendy word at the moment and using it makes me sound like a hip and with-it dad.

DUDE:
We don’t own a ranch where city slickers come to play cowboy.  In general, we are not referring to the way a person dresses when using dude.  I dislike this word a great deal and yet I use it. I dislike being called dude, and yet I call people dude, something Luke has called me out on.  The only person who should be called dude is The Dude for he is the only cool dude.