When I login to Substack to write a new blog post, I see a home page that recommends other writers. Today it was recommending a blog about a swole woman.
I had to go look up what that meant.
Seriously, I could probably dedicate an entire thousand-post blog focused solely on my annoyance with our current English language. A friend emailed me today on the matter, mentioning a past conversation with journalism students regarding the need for them to write at a second grade level.
“How many stories can you write about Dick, Jane, and Spot?” I responded. Considering today’s media, though, it might be more than I realize.
Swole, apparently, means very fit or muscular.
I’m pleased to point out that at least for now, the writing interface I’m using for this blog post doesn’t recognize it as a real word and has put the squiggly red line under it to alert me to a misspelling. On the flip side, I’m dismayed to report that when I write for clients in Google Drive and use “their” as a sloppy way to refer to a general human being without having to do the math and make sure an equal number of he and she are used, it doesn’t even indicate as incorrect.
I know it’s not correct. I do it, but I know it’s not correct. It’s like making a lifetime of jaywalking your badge of honor, knowing you will not be ticketed. Buzzy modern words quickly make their way into the spellcheck engines of the platforms people are using to write.
“Hey, this wasn’t a word yesterday!”
“But today it is,” says the Google engine soothingly, altering reality one trending phrase at a time.
As I wrote previously, I understand that there are colloquialisms, generational vocabularies—it’s always been that way to some extent. I guess. I’m not going to go off on another rant about how I can barely understand what I read or hear anymore.
Well, just one more rant.
There is a billboard I’ve seen in a few places around town. It has the words “TEXT AND” followed by three emoticons:
I almost went off the road staring at it, trying to figure it out. For days, I thought about it. I know the message is you shouldn’t text while driving. Finally I understood: TEXT AND DIE.
Except we have to communicate in emoticons. And homophones (dye = die). We’re going to need another Rosetta stone pretty soon.
Regarding the opportunity to daily read about a swole woman, which is what started me down this path in the first place, I can’t say I’m interested. The gym, to me, is the place I go to make sure I can still tie my own shoes at age 80, a magical facility whose weight machines are what stands between me and significant bone loss.
A goal of being swole isn’t even on the menu. The last thing I’m interested in is some “swole” woman’s journey to the gym and back.
Photos of her muscular back, taken in a bathroom (because there are now probably more photos of people’s bathroom walls than Eiffel Tower on the internet due to habit of people taking sexy body selfies in front of mirrors), are pretty much not what I want to consume at any point in the day.
I just got progressive lenses. Bifocals, if you will.
I’m more interested in a blog about heating pads than being swole.