The article, “Words of 2012,” appeared in the NY Times Sunday Review, Dec. 23. In what I guess is an annual, end-of-year wrap-up column, writer Grant Barrett served up this year’s batch of freshly minted words, acronyms, and trendy lexicon.
(In deference to the Mayans’ dire forecast, the Times could’ve easily run an “All-Time End-of-All-Time” list of best words. While it turned out to be “Apocalypse Not,” the Mayans’ scarifying scenario did seem to have a strong influence on Karl Rove’s predictin’ bidness.)
Who could forget these gems from the national and regional political campaigns: “The 47 Percent,” “Binders Full of Women,” “Legitimate Rape,” and “Eastwooding”?
A few expressions came storming (literally) into public consciousness via Hurricane Sandy — “Frankenstorm” and “SuperStorm,” for example. “SNor’Eastercane” was a fusion (or confusion) of “snow, nor’easter and hurricane.”
Another word generated by Sandy — “SOPO” — referred, ironically, to the interruption of power being generated for millions of New Yorkers. An acronym for “South of Power Outage,” SOPO refers to the area of lower Manhattan that went without electricity for days and weeks after Sandy delivered her climatological calamity.
My favorite, outgoing (sigh) sitcom, “30 Rock,” produced many memorable expressions during its run. However, I’ll second Mr. Barrett’s pick, an utterance from the lips of Liz Lemon. (Full disclosure: Tina Fey, the top-of-her-game comedienne and best-selling author, is a personal crush of mine. My wife doesn’t need to know this.)
Lemon proclaimed in her anxious, unconvincing way that she was “Unwindulaxin.” It’s a perfectly acceptable 5-syllable from 9-syllable condensation of the words “unwinding, chilling out, relaxing,” don’t you agree? She’s adorable.
But the last shall be best in my book (film rights available). Having skirted, by the craziest, luckiest of circumstances, what could’ve been a fatal heart attack, I had the good fortune of undergoing triple heart bypass this past year. The official, doctorly term for my procedure is Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, or CABG. In the heartbeat biz, CABG is affectionately called “Cabbage.” Again, adorable.
I survived my cabbage, and dang if I don’t feel better than I have in 10 years. But, that’s not the point. What was my point? Right, the last word, as it were, in the Times’ 2012 Words of the Year.
The word is “YOLO.” It’s an acronym for “You Only Live Once.” Alphabetically, it comes last in the article. But for me, it’s comes closest to the heart, if you’ll pardon the expression.
Thanks to a cabbage, I dodged the proverbial bullet. My one life to live got an extension. It doesn’t come with a warranty period, so I’m using whatever’s left to do some things before cashing out for good. I’m living la Vida YOLO; but I won’t belabor you with the details. Not the point.
The point is that bullets — the real kind that rip through bones, tissues and organs — are getting harder to dodge by the day. In our gun-hugging, bullet-riddled, 2nd Amendment-misinterpreting country, a lot of Americans couldn’t dodge the bullet in 2012. Their one shot — again, pardon the expression — at a long life was cut short. Unfairly, unfathomably short. Kindergartens, movie houses, malls, homes — no place is safe anymore.
All the doctors, surgeons, king’s men and king’s horses — much less cabbages — are powerless to protect us from the carnage wrought by automatic weapons.
I’m not sure how these comments veered into gun control territory, but I’m guess I’m stuck with it now. Every other issue at the moment seems to pale in comparison.
Leaves me wondering if the gun-related slaughter of innocents — in Aurora, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Newtown and other communities in crosshair peril — will produce their own set of mimetic phrases. “Gun Nut” seems to be an early frontrunner, but the people-hunting season is young.