On 'awesome' and my alleged overuse of the word

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As someone who considers himself schooled in the art of the English language — a riotously funny statement for me to make, but certainly well in line with how highly I think of myself — I can be pretty self-conscious about the words I choose, it turns out. Lately, in particular, I’m finding that I use certain meaningless, cliché words to express my sentiments over weighty things. Try describing to someone you’re really into them, without spending hours spewing douchey prose about flower petals and clouds and shit. Pick one word to describe why you’re into someone, like a significant other.

All I ever seem to come up with is “awesome.”

I use the word far too much, and am hyper-aware of it. So, for example, when explaining to Rachel why I like her so much, I find myself saying, “Dude, it’s because you’re awesome.” Now, my use of the word “dude” to address a girl notwithstanding, “awesome” is a terrible word to use, for one reason: it literally means “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension or fear.”

Uh, right. Except, it really doesn’t mean that anymore, does it? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are at least partly responsible for its change in meaning.

But still, let’s go with the according-to-Webster meaning in the scenario I raised two ‘graphs up. Why I like Rachel so much: “Dude, it’s because you’re extremely impressive. Or daunting. You inspire — perhaps simultaneously — admiration, apprehension, or fear.”

Somehow, I suspect my girlfriend isn’t going to find such a description particularly flattering. But it might not matter because, really, how much to I use the word?

Well, as probably the only real record of my use of language, let’s use the completely scientific Wordle tweet cloud image above. I use the word “awesome” enough that it appears in the cloud. I also say “really” and “bacon” a lot. And “dude.”

But I’m probably being too hard on myself for overuse of “awesome,” something that Rachel herself pointed out (and I should note that I will never apologize for excessive use of the word “bacon”). However, let me use this public forum to say that I am neither daunted nor apprehensive or fearful of my girlfriend. Not always, anyhow.

And as the Ninja Turles would say, she is awesome.

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