Possibly the most irritating habit I’ve picked up over the past two years is a horrifying, life-consuming addiction to the word “literally.” It started as a hilarious joke (as do most things in my life, including the time I accidentally killed a man in Juarez), in which I convinced myself that saying “literally” with a super straight face about things that weren’t at all literal was the GREATEST THING EVER. I know, I know, it’s that type of demented thinking that leads to horrors like hipster irony. I’m not proud.
Just like the first time I tried crystal meth, it quickly became a habit I literally couldn’t break. It also spread to my friends. Soon enough, even my dentist was saying things like, “I will literally pull out all your teeth if you don’t sit still.” The only person who remained immune was my boyfriend, too busy playing the bass literally all the time (not an exaggeration) to notice that his woman was sinking into a syntactical quicksand from which there was no escape.
Instead of fighting the hopeless fight against invasive adverbs, I’ve decided to embrace the word “literally”–nay, to CELEBRATE it–by exploring the most genius literal usage of our day and age as found in a little thing I like to call THE POP SONG. In a world of hyperbole, a world where people use and abuse the word “literally” on a daily basis, sometimes it’s refreshing to hear of things that are actually literal. Devoid of all poetry, subtlety, wit, and pretensions. Refreshing as a stream of Fiji-brand water, which is literally a ripoff. The following lyrics are literally literal. U hear me?
1. “Girl, run your own show/but don’t be on some ho shit.” –Kreayshawn
This is the most hilarious line I have ever heard. I love how Kreayshawn DOES NOT EVEN TRY TO RHYME. She just doesn’t give a fuck. She has something very basic to say (I would totally give this advice to one of my friends if she were trying to leave her 9-5 and considering prostitution), and she says it in tuneless deadpan. A few more singles like this one and all editors will be out of business forever.
2. “Bad enough to die from one/not to mention four or five.” –3 Doors Down
Well played, 3 Doors Down. Well played. The lesser intellects among us like to grapple with the existential dilemmas found in the game Would You Rather…(my brothers always asked me if I wanted to “die in a cactus bush,” and I’m still not sure exactly how that works), but you’re way too real for hypotheticals. Instead, you remind us of the immortal truth ever-hovering around the edges of the life-death spectrum. Why beat around the [cactus] bush? It’s always worse to die from more things than from just one thing!!!!!!!!!
3. “Stalking-ass bitch/shit I don’t like.” –Chief Keef
I’m totally with you on this one, Keef. I, too, dislike stalking-ass bitches. This line resonates with me in a particular way because of my downstairs neighbor, who truly gives me the creeps. He told me that he keeps baby oil in a spray bottle and spritzes it all over his body. Then he showed me his shiny arm and said, “It gleams.” Then he told me to watch out for creepy guys.
4. “Interesting’s what I find you.” –Black Eyed Peas
I really respect the BEP’s decision to go for the blandest adjective of all time here. Other artists may kill themselves trying to unearth the MOST surprising, original, fresh imagery for their tunes, but the BEP extends a huge middle finger to the literati with this powerful one-two punch. They find me interesting. And they’re sure as hell not gonna elaborate.
On that note, I am literally packing up my Chicago apartment and moving down to Bloomington, Indiana, right now, to get my MFA. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!