As a high school teacher, I am privy to certain bits of information that other adults might not know, like which weird fads are currently in style. For example, did you know it’s in style for boys to use a shoelace for a belt? Seriously, how weird is that? I’m not talking about hicks either; I’m talking about boys who are popular and in style. That’s something I would think Cletus from The Simpsons would do. I’m not criticizing them either because I partook in my fair share of silly fads – shaved the sides of my head while the top was long (a la Jason Newsted from Metallica)…
…wore Doc Marten sandals (I think mostly lesbians wear them nowadays)…
…wore Cross Colours (I think it was like a black empowerment brand).
Like I said, I won’t criticize anyone for taking part in fads but I will laugh.
I think one of the most interesting things about teenage culture is this weird, almost collective decision to use certain words as a catchall. For example, for the past 4 years of so, the word random has been completely and unnecessarily overused. Any new idea is random. For example:
Teenage Girl: The, like, stuff outside today was bad.
Teenage Boy: Yeah, like totally bad.
Teenage Boy: Those things we ate for lunch were good.
Teenage Girl: That was random.
In this sense, random really isn’t being used correctly, but I get what’s intended. It’s just lazy to me. Describing someone as random (as the kids often do) means they are quirky, I guess. When I think of a random person, I think of someone shoving crayons in their ears, stopping, singing opera, stopping, pooping their pants, stopping, falling over, stopping, etc.
Another example is the word creepy. I hear this word being used all the time. When I think of creepy, I think of monsters and perverts, not someone who reads Star Wars novels. Creepy has almost become a word to describe someone who is nerdy or enjoys nerdy things. I resent this one because I like nerdy things (I counted today – I own 11 comic book shirts) and I don’t want to be called a word that I would use for a man who owns his own ice cream truck, fake mustache, and bag with the word candy scrawled across it. I am going to do my best to put the creepy fire out.
The last example is awkward. This is also a word that is overly and incorrectly (sometimes) used. This one I get because I am awkward or so I’ve been told.
Me: So do you live around here?
Girl at Bar: Yeah, these apartments around the corner called Inverness.
Me: You know, that’s the name of Macbeth’s castle.
Girl at Bar looks away.
I do those kinds of, well, awkward things quite often. I guess it annoys me that teens throw the word around that has become so dear to me. You think that kid quietly reading in the back of the room is awkward? I’ll put on a sweaty, stammering mess of a show for you, so you can really get what awkward means. Don’t cheapen the word by describing just anyone with it. Watch me tell jokes to the class that are either not funny or no one gets because they were all born in the mid-90’s.
“You know guys, he has a bit of a Judge Ito quality to him right? Ha ha… Err… because he has a… err… beard and stuff.”
“Is it hot in here?”