Archive for February, 2011


Literally

You know what’s a great word? “Literally.”

Literally is a great word because it allows you to take something that is normally a figure of speech and twist it around so that it is no longer one.

“Gee whiz, that was an awesome movie.”

“Yeah. I came when I saw Betty White take off her shirt.”

“I know what you mean, man.”

“No, literally.”

“O_o”

See that? Awesome, right? There are few words in the English language that can twist a whole sentence around as beautifully as “literally” can.

The problem is that people seem to have forgotten what “literally” means. When you use “literally”, you’re saying that whatever figure of speech you just used is not in fact a figure of speech at all, but a statement intended to be taken at face value.

Far too often I hear people using “literally” for emphasis, in the same way that you’d use “really”. You cannot say that someone is literally a one-trick pony unless they are actually a horse. You cannot say that an object literally squeaked by unless that object actually made a squeaking noise as it passed you. You cannot say that it’s literally raining cats and dogs unless domesticated animals are actually plummeting from the sky.

There are many more examples that I could use, but I feel that this comic illustrates my point better than I ever could.

The bottom line is this: Treat the word “literally” with care. It’s a great device, but if people continue to abuse it it’s going to become meaningless.

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Puddles

When the temperature is a consistent -15, you sort of forget the joys of walking around the city. Toronto is a nice place, but when it’s cold outside the only thing you’re focused on is getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Recently we’ve hit a bit of a warm spell, with temperatures rising above the freezing mark for the first time in months. In addition to making my daily walk to school a heck of a lot more pleasant, the warmth has had a secondary effect as well: creating puddles.

When snow melts, it tends to turn to water, and water tends to flow downhill. Physics, you see.

I’m just a little confused as to why people are so afraid of puddles. I mean, most people aren’t afraid of rain. Most people aren’t afraid of snow. But if you collect a pile of rain or a pile of melted snow, suddenly people are scared of it. I know that they’re scared because whenever they see a puddle in their path they slow down and veer to the side (even going off of the sidewalk entirely if necessary) in order to avoid it.

It wasn’t always this way. When we were younger, not only were we unafraid of puddles, but we actively sought them out. If a puddle wasn’t in our way, we made sure that it was.

Now though, you’ve got a one inch deep puddle that spans the sidewalk on Hoskin Avenue and people would rather walk around it via the ice-covered grass than go through it. It’s madness.

The next time you see a puddle that everyone else is avoiding, go right through it. Trust me, you’ll feel great being the only one brave enough to take on a one inch deep body of water. And if you happen to stomp a little bit as you go through, splashing those who were foolish enough to go around the puddle, all the more power to you.

This Is Not A Metaphor

I’d just like to point out a few things tonight:

Red is not green.
Pop-rock is not punk-rock.
Rage is not love.
Interest is not passion.
Hockey is not philosophy.
Months are not years.
19 is not 14.
University is not elementary school.
Horror is not comedy.
France is not Italy.
One is not and never will be Infamous.

All of that said, I’ve still got a wrench in my hand.

Little Vengeance The Second

There’s this guy in my Spanish class named Andrew.

Andrew is a nerd, but he’s not the jovial sort of nerd that I’ve been known to hang out with occasionally. He’s one of those arrogant I’m-better-than-you-are nerds who take life way too seriously.

Why was Andrew deserving of a Little Vengeance? Well, it’s not so much that he’s done anything to offend me personally. Instead, it’s the way that he acts in class that has earned him a spot on my List.

For one thing, Andrew is one of those guys who kisses the professor’s ass constantly. If the professor attempts a joke, Andrew laughs. If the rest of the class laughs too, Andrew makes sure to laugh louder so that his laughter can be heard above all others. That sort of thing.

Andrew also doesn’t believe in helping out his fellow students unless it benefits him. For example, if you ask him for help with something, he’ll always either refuse or tell you that he doesn’t know the answer. This happens even if he has the answer right in front of him.

Tied in with the previous point is that Andrew enjoys seeing other people in his class fail. If someone gets a question wrong, Andrew will snicker. If someone asks a question because they don’t understand the material, Andrew will snicker. The snicker itself is bad enough, but in addition to his snicker he also gets this shit-eating grin on his face and, strangest of all, starts rocking back and forth uncontrollably in his chair. I love hyperbole as much as anyone, but I’m not exaggerating at all here – he actually starts rocking back and forth in his chair. It’s really weird.

Anyhow, today the professor announced that we would be having a pop quiz in class. “You only have ten minutes to finish, so you’ll have to work quickly!” he said in Spanish. The professor handed some quizzes to the students on one side of the room and asked that  they be passed around. I happened to be seated in a position where I was the second last to receive a quiz, and the only person I would have to pass to was Andrew.

You know how sometimes two pieces of paper can get “stuck” together, and it takes an unusual amount of effort to separate them? Well that’s what happened as I tried to pass a quiz over to Andrew. At first it was accidental, but then I saw how Andrew was reacting to this delay. He had started rocking back and forth in his seat with that shit-eating grin on his face, and making some sort of strange noises. I couldn’t possibly explain these noises. Just mash your keyboard a few times and try to pronounce whatever the result is. You won’t be too far off.

Once I saw his reaction, I decided to milk it for all it was worth. I fumbled with the sheets, desperately trying to separate them, but to no avail. Oh whoops, I just dropped some. Clumsy me! Hold on, let me grab those. Oh, I think I’ve got a corner… yes! Oh no, I lost it! Gah! This is so frustrating!

All told I struggled with the paper for about fifteen seconds, during which Andrew kept rocking back and forth constantly and making weird noises. Fifteen seconds doesn’t sound like much, but it was all I needed. With only ten minutes to write the quiz, the fact that Andrew had lost a whole quarter of a minute (on top of whatever time it took for the sheets to reach me) had clearly rattled him. Once I finally handed him a  quiz, the shit-eating grin was nowhere to been seen.

 

You don’t need to destroy someone in order to get back at them. Sometimes a Little Vengeance is all you need.

Little Vengeance

Tonight I have a brief anecdote demonstrating how sometimes even the smallest morsels of revenge can be incredibly satisfying.

It all started yesterday at around 5:30. I was in my residence building, and had pressed the elevator button in order to go down for dinner. I have a 6:00 class on Wednesdays, you see, and thus need to eat early on Wednesdays, or not at all. After what seemed like an eternity, the elevator door opened. As soon as it had opened, however, it immediately began to close, indicating that whoever was inside was holding down the Close Door button in order to speed up their journey at my expense.

Little did they they know that I’m secretly a fucking fox. I bolted to the elevator door and stuck my arm in to prevent it from closing. The elevator doors, not wanting to crush my arm, immediately opened up again, revealing the faces of two bitches who were clearly disappointed that I had foiled their plot. I wanted to say “BITCHES! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!”, but that seemed excessive, so instead I opted to give them a dirty look.

I finished my dinner in peace. It was some sort of rice/beef/corn dish. As far as residence food goes, it was pretty good. Anyhow, I was preparing to leave, but then I looked to the left. Guess who I saw? The bitches, that’s who! They were headed towards the fruit area. Seeing my chance, I sped up my pace and passed them at the last moment, snatching the tongs just before bitch #1 could. I timed it so that they would know that it was deliberate. I then took my time selecting the best fruits, leaving them with the dregs of the bowl: some small bits of honeydew and the white bits of watermelon.

I wasn’t even hungry for fruit. I was hungry for revenge. And boy was it sweet.