The Sad Demise of a Once Proud Word

Awesome will be laid to rest

By Michael Turton

(Cold Spring, NY) The word awesome was taken off life support today and declared legally dead. The demise of the incomparable word that once caused users to quake when appropriately employing its meaning was announced at a press conference hosted by Thesaurus.net and Dictionary.org.
For centuries regarded as the most powerful word in the English language, awesome eventually succumbed – not a bad word in itself – to abuse, inappropriate use, overuse and near-universal lack of respect. “It is very difficult for me to utter these words, but the sense of loss is truly awesome” commented overwhelming, a close friend of awesome. “How ironic that it took awesome’s downfall to prompt the first correct use of the word in years,” overwhelming concluded. For years there have been rumors that awesome and overwhelming have enjoyed a near-synonymous relationship however editors at Dictionary.org refused to confirm or deny those reports.

Details of the funeral were also announced at the press conference. Breathtaking, astonishing, amazing, majestic, wondrous, and magnificent will act as pallbearers.

As was its wish, awesome will be depicted for the final time in calligraphy on a single piece of parchment and then shredded both vertically and horizontally before being thrown over Niagara Falls. It will be a fitting end to the once great word, who in its hay day was quoted as saying, “If I were a place rather than a word, I would be Niagara Falls”¦.it is the definition of awesome.” Due to a freakish snow storm, the Grand Canyon could not be reached for comment.
Dictionaries around the world will be represented at the funeral by a veritable who’s who of synonyms including exceptional, extraordinary, outstanding, remarkable, preeminent, singular, towering, uncommon, unusual and appalling.
Awesome’s mentor, Diction, will deliver the eulogy. “I don’t plan to mince words. It may be hypocritical of me but this is one time I will not choose my words carefully; people need to realize the consequences of their verbal abuse,” a distraught Diction stated.
Diction went on to say that he will list the top ten abuses that led to awesome’s demise. “I think the downward spiral began about fifteen years ago when someone flippantly described a cheeseburger as awesome. The linguistic perversion came to a nauseating culmination when the phrase “totally awesome dude” made its pathetic debut. It made me wretch” Diction lamented. He then revealed that the decision to end life support came immediately after a conversation was overheard in which someone asked his friend, “How was the movie last night?” When the friend responded “It was nothing special, maybe two stars out of five” the questioner replied, “That’s awesome, I have to go see it!”
The Mediterranean island of Achos, which derives its name from the Greek word for fear, and awesome’s oldest known ancestor, announced that it will send a special envoy to the services.
The room was filled to capacity for the press conference. To show their respect, adjectives arrived early and completely dominated the front rows. Adverbs, nouns and verbs co-mingled in the middle rows while articles and prepositions were relegated to the back of the room. In a move that offended some, acronyms were not allowed to attend. A formal protest has been filed with SPOCTA, The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Acronyms.
Not everyone at the press conference was devastated by awesome‘s passing. Longtime antonym, banal was humdrum in its response, initially saying only, “Whatever…” before yawning and adding, “I was never that impressed.”
For years linguistic critics have pointed their finger at the firm of Vulgarity, Colloquialism and Vernacular for having demeaned the mightiest of all adjectives. Company spokesman Slang attended the press conference and in a terse, prepared statement said, “We were just doing our job. No one complained when we changed the meaning of cool.  And ‘that sucks’ has enjoyed unparalleled success. Words are nothing more than a collection of letters. This whole thing has been overblown — it’s really quite cheesy.”
The aggressive, unrepentant statement caused a stir. Onomatopoeia sizzled, snapped and crackled. Many feared Onomatopoeia would actually pop banal in the vowels but kept its distance instead, simmering in the background. Network glared at Slang and shouted that he was incapable of attending awesome’s funeral due to the stress caused by the firm’s distasteful and unauthorized use of network as a verb. “I will never ‘network’ you moron! I am a network for god’s sake” it cried.
Vulgarity, Colloquialisms and Vernacular is also hearing grumbling within its own ranks. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a low level minion with the company had this to say: “I’m just a grunt here, you know, a worker-bee, but back at the office, even Slang admits that this time we went too far.”
Awesome is survived by awestruck and awful. They have requested that in lieu of flowers, people simply think about the words they use before uttering them.
A teary-eyed Jeff Consaga, owner and chef of The Foundry Cafí© said that as a final tribute, awesome will appear this weekend as “Le mot du jour” — a noteworthy word posted daily on the cafí© menu board – but that it will never appear there again
.

6 Responses to "The Sad Demise of a Once Proud Word"

  1. Libby Anderson   August 31, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    “Totally awesome dude” may be a wretched phrase, but what it actually made Diction do was retch– no “w”. Also, awesome had a heyday, not a hay day, and adverbs, nouns, and verbs commingled. Otherwise, totally cool article, dude.

  2. Julia   September 1, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Does anyone remember the overuse of “excellent”? (I believe it died quietly — no shredder needed.)

  3. leonora burton   September 1, 2010 at 8:23 am

    When I was growing up in Great Britain, oh! so many years ago, the word in use was ‘actually’ –

    When is some group going to officially retire “you know”?

  4. Denise   September 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Let’s just hope that “dude” will soon be following awesome into eternal rest.

  5. Mahmoud Shahbodaghi   September 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Very nice.
    But let’s not worry. Good words, unlike good people, return to their standing in a few short years after the abuse dies down. Good ideas do too.

  6. Steven Davis   September 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Awesome!!!