08/01/2010 11:46 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Like, Like

I'm, like, nauseous.

Like, the whole, like "like" thing is, like, burrowing into my, like, brain.

And I don't, like, like it.

It's like people can't, like, commit to what they, like, believe.

Like, everything seems like it was, like, an approximation of the the, like, thing they wanted to say but couldn't, like, actually get behind it in terms of, like, liking it enough to take it all the way.


When my kids, like, use "like" in that way, it makes even this, like, lazy and, like, sloppy middle aged dilettante go, like, nuts. I mean like, I occasionally, like, do the same thing, casually passing along this quasi-beatnik jargon like it was, like, crabs or something.

And it goes beyond the first, like, tier of "like"'s abuse. What sends me, like, over the edge is when "like" is, like, extrapolated beyond the standard "That is, like, so cooool!" to "That is, like, so, like, cool that I'm, like, whoa!" It's the "I'm, like..." that, like makes me think our kids are developing a, like, major personality disorder.

But when I, like, hear it used by teachers or, like, public figures such as, like, politicians who, like, make it their business to try and imply that they're, like, superior or, like, they would tell other Americans how to live n' shit (oops. That was, like, uncalled for), then it makes me insane.

While public education has been, like, brought to its knees by, like, people who care only about the short-term and, like, bottom line (see: No Child, Like, Left Behind), more progressive, experiential methods have been employed over the past decades, and been subsequently folded into the corporately crippled school programs, methods which have themselves evolved into an efficient and hopeful way for American students to receive the education they have recently lacked.

But there seems to be less of an emphasis on what my old, wild-eyed, spinster teachers used to call Proper English (usually taught in the same breath as good posture and good penmanship) when it comes to teaching.

And because the ubiquitous and utterly careless media culture routinely parades sub-cretinous personalities as role models who have attained their lofty celebrity status in spite of (or because of) their -- shall we say -- lack of enlightenment on the finer points of the language they were brought up to speak, that trickle-down ignominy drenches our kids' brains and manifests in a youth culture which celebrates syntactical sloth as a great equalizer, a kind of unwitting and witless Esperanto.

And since media increasingly targets youth as the conduit to lifelong consumption of useless and endlessly disposable products ("Apps"? Really?) then why put up any rules at all? That would be, like, ick.

My, like, fear is that it's an indication of something darker than just, like, a passing, like, fancy; I worry that it's like a superficial rash that speaks to the spreading infection within. Like.

On the other hand, English has withstood far greater assaults on it than, like, "like". And while I'm, like, older and, like, clearly get bummed out by, like, rampant use of "like", I'm, like, content to not get, like, paranoid and see if "like" runs its, like, course.

So really what's not to, like, like? Y'know?