Monday, May 17, 2010

You Can Literally Take Me Literally

You ever have those moments when a word or phrase just gets under your skin?


You know, those moments when people say things that are clearly incorrect, and you can tell that it is just a bad habit that they have gotten into - Literally?

Yep, that's what the voices are lauding this week. The incorrect use of the word "literally".

It started with my son. He has been saying it for weeks. I can't figure out where he first heard it, but it is now used all of the time - literally. For instance, "Dad, I am literally starving!" "Dad, I literally cannot do my homework." "Dad, I literally have to go to the bathroom." You get the idea.

Now, he is 9 so I cut him some slack. Although there have been many times when I have uttered the phrase, "I do not think that means what you think it means" a la The Princess Bride. Yet I soften my lexicogriphal bombacity and allow it to continue unchecked.

Then, I am driving in the car and an ad comes on the radio that has the phrase "it literally hit home". Now the ad was for something like long-term care insurance. I can't be absolutely certain, but it is a fair bet that whatever they were talking about did not physically strike their living abode. It might have "figuratively" hit home, "metaphorically" hit home, even "transcendentally" hit home. However, it couldn't @#$%ing "literally" hit home!!!!

That is the stuff that goes on in my brain.

Oh, and before I forget, I learned a great lesson this weekend. When watching a soccer game in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, and wearing a jacket that is - literally - not waterproof; do not put your cell phone in your pocket. It was a nice victory for the KC Fusion U-11 girls and at the same time a nice victory for life-lessons as I got to know the Sprint store repairmen.

OK, finally, I'm going to put my 2 cents into the "Wrong Tooth" conversation.

I mean, I am literally going to put my 2 cents in - John, watch your mail because I am overnighting 2 pennies to you.

Seriously though. It is a messed up situation all around. I've seen it in my short practice time, so I know everyone else has as well. You get those no-win situation patients that come in with complaints that do not match their clinical problems (e.g., small fracture on the incisal edge of a front tooth but have severe perio disease). Yes, the DDS should have had the chart (another argument for going paperless - I can pull up a chart on my laptop from anywhere in the world), but at the same time he performed the correct treatment. Hindsight is 20/20.

Literally. (Look it up, it is a medical fact that if you have vision backwards it is perfect always - never need glasses, can fly a plane or be a sniper, drive without restrictions, it's awesome. Which is why optometrists hate people with hindsight - no treatment needed).

OK, I'm out of here. The voices want me to read a book.


Have a great week.


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