The word "awesome"

"Mum! You're needed to say funny things."
"Shall I tell you about what you need to think when you want to kill a fly?"
"No, I have topics. Let's talk about the word 'awesome'."
"Well that's easy, that's me."
"I saw a parrot on the allotment. It had a red head and wings."
"Dad, are you sure that wasn't me?"
"Its underside looked like a raptor."
"Right. Mum. How would you describe 'awesome'?"
"Me. There is no one more awesomer in the world than me."
"You know the really worrying thing? She believes it."
"Shouldn't everyone believe they're awesome?"
"Yeah, but not all of us can be."
"Is he taking my talking off me? It's not fair if he's taking my talking."

Several months ago I watched a TED talk about the word awesome, and (well, like many TED talks) it really stuck with me. I'll try and embed it below or at least link it, as you might have noticed, I'm still getting to grips with Blogger - I still have the original theme and I'm pretty sure the font is Times New Roman. For this, I apologise.

A while back I was talking to my friend and said "good things come to those who wait", and he replied, "yet people say that the early bird catches the worm". I made a joke (that I should really have researched beforehand so I could appear more confident in it) saying that was why 'idiot' and 'idiom' had the same roots. A quick Google later and, yes, they have the same roots. Sometimes I feel like the English language is a big inside joke that no one quite understands.

So, awesome. To be in awe of something. Awe. Actual awe. As a kid, I - like probably everyone else - used it as an interchangeable word with "cool", or "wicked". I would describe a Hot Wheels set as cool or awesome like a throwaway word, but really "awe"some should be applied to sublime nature or similar awe inspiring feats. I wouldn't describe a mountain range as cool.
So awesome become this word to describe anything, say a new pair of shoes. What do you do when you see a huge force of nature? Surely a hurricane is awesome, if it leaves you in awe of its power? As are man made achievements, say intriguing architecture. All as good as a pair of shoes.

To be honest, I've bought some awesome shoes before, but that's another matter.

I sound like I'm whining, but here's my point - someone used to ask how my day was, and always reply with "awesome!"

How was your day?
Really good! I went to see a sculpture exhibition that was gorgeous, got a new best time for a mile, wrote three reviews, contacted some agents and wrote a few hundred words.

How was your day?
Alright, went to college and got a Costa with mates after.

Am I missing something? If getting a Costa is awesome, a productive day like that should be something far better. But do we have a word for that? Super awesome, maybe? I don't know. I feel like the meaning of the word has been lost somewhere. We have this incredible gift of language and we such superlatives and extreme adjectives to describe everyday, painfully common occurrences.

TED talk below.


Popular posts from this blog

The pill, and reading the small print

2016, a disgustingly good year (bar all the shit)

Half marathons are boring unless you're quick