Speaking out on verbal abuse


Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?
Speak for yourself pal. Words, when abused, give me a screaming headache.
I leave others to fret over the state of modern society, cloning, the presidential election (can we kill two birds with one stone by cloning a former president and simply electing him?) and what Oprah’s current dress size may be.
I’ve got bigger fish – and dangling participles – to fry.
Freedom from spelling. I realize America was apparently founded on the principles of freedom-from-spelling, the separation of dictionary and pen, and an overwhelming desire to cobble together an entire language entirely from slang.
Nonetheless, I just cannot contain my petty irritation anymore. Words are to a writer what a canvas is to an artist; a classic Mustang is to an automotive enthusiast; another indictment is to Michael Jackson.
This is why, in the interest of all things good and pure in the world, I suggest that we band together and rise above the senseless misuse of otherwise perfectly innocent words.
Yes, my friends, we must work together to stamp out verbal abuse.
Like a former convict who is rehabilitated to assist in putting an end to crime, I take responsibility for my part in past abuse.
Like, you know. Namely, in the mid 1980s I excessively and without regard for safety and human decency, used the term “like” in every sentence.
Like, you know, me and my girlfriends were just so, like, caught up, in the whole like, Valley Girl thing, despite, like, the fact that we lived, like, in the Midwest and it made us sound, like, so incredibly stupid.
Think of this, then, as both my probation and restitution to society.
Careless. Exhibit A: “I could care less.”
This is an eloquent enough phrase clearly intended to convey disdain, as in: “The subject at hand means so little to me that nothing, and I do mean nothing, exists that could interest me less.”
Unfortunately, what “I could care less” actually indicates is that the speaker could, in fact, care less about something. Not exactly the rock bottom of caring they were aiming for.
Thus, the correct phrase would be “I couldn’t care less.” This would effectively make clear that there is nothing you care less about than the matter at hand.
It shouldn’t require a Master’s degree in English to convey disdain.
My bad. Other language offenders I could, in fact, care less about:
Do you stand “in line” or “on line?” Inquiring minds want to know.
The slang expression “my bad” is woefully incomplete. The actual phrase is “my bad grammar and herd-like devotion to this overexposed catch phrase would, in a perfect world, be punishable by death.”
Something that no longer matters is not a “mute” point – it is a “moot” point. A mute point would be a point that remains silent – which is probably a good idea if one is unsure of the difference between “mute” and “moot.”
Think outside the box. If we taxed smarty pants business types on their use of the phrases, “Think outside the box” and “touch base” alone, we could more than adequately fund the public schools for the next 127 years.
First, however, we must touch base with these crucial questions too long left unanswered: where is this box? Is there only one box? Who are the losers still so behind the times as to think inside it anyway? Are they ever let out of the box in order to touch base? Go to the bathroom? Anything?
More importantly, does OSHA have specs on the maximum number of people who can think outside the box before safety harnesses are required?
“Anyways” – There should be no ‘s’ at the end of this word. Ever. It’s just so wrong. I beg of you. Please stop.
We trust you. We believe you. It is not necessary to preface every statement with “honestly


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.