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Monday, April 22, 2024

Word Vomit

Word vomit (n.) – originated in Paramount’s Mean Girls, which everyone has seen whether they admit it or not. It is the act of uttering words that have floated around in your head countless times but that you would never actually dream of saying. Example – “I’ve always hated you.”

There are a lot of really ridiculous holidays out there. Boss’s Day definitely comes out somewhere at the top of the list; are we not forced to brownnose these power-tripping fools 364 days a year as it is? Parents’ Day is pointless since we have Mother’s and Father’s Days already. Then there are the federal holidays that no one would really care about if not for the fact that we get a day off.

I’ve always thought that it would be nifty to have National Word Vomit Day – 24 glorious hours where you just don’t hold anything back. Tell that girl who sits in front of you that you’re sick of seeing her g-string hang out every Tuesday and Thursday from two to four. Tell your brother that his new girlfriend looks like a Fall Out Boy groupie. Tell that dude you’ve been leading on that you only talk to him because he has a fake ID.

I once pitched this idea to a coworker, who said it would be a pointless holiday for him because he already just says what’s on his mind. I’m positive that he was lying. Nobody truly says what they’re thinking, because let’s face it, 99.9 percent of us would be massively hated by the end of that day. I reserve that 0.1 percent because I truly have met people in my lifetime who genuinely seemed to have kind natures. The rest of us are jerks.

Now I know that I’m only reiterating common knowledge here, but the real reason we can’t say these things boils down to sheer social ethic. We are forced to mask our true feelings for our own benefit. It’s all about rationalizing: What’s more worth it, the satisfaction of telling your friend the truth or scoring booze so you can be worshipped amongst the other freshies in your dorm? Thought so.

It’d be fair to say that there’s definitely some sort of buffer zone for most of us. It’s the reason we instinctively open our mouths to say something then close it again, why we think out our words before we sit someone down for a talk, why leaders have speechwriters. We regulate ourselves and calculate our actions to keep from looking like tools.

There’s always that one scene in a movie or on a TV show where a bunch of people think they’re gonna die and start spilling their guts to one another, like in Almost Famous, where the otherwise mute drummer of the band comes out of the closet. This, again, is because these folks figure they have nothing to lose since their lives are about to end. I would presume that there’s a comforting serenity in the moments before the crash, when all the weight is lifted and the concept of a secret vanishes. Except that the plane never crashes and everyone feels awkward as fuck afterward.

Darn consequences. Everything we say becomes public knowledge, at least to the people who hear it. And once it’s out, it’s out; you can never take it back. This is why it takes balls to speak your mind. The sad part is, from that point out your fate is somewhat dependent on the other party’s reaction.

So much of life is based on masking your true thoughts and feelings. It’s evident everywhere: in politics, in beauty pageants, in the workplace. It’s just part of the inner workings of social order. But really, if for once we could see the first runner up rage at Miss USA, it would probably be the best catfight ever. I’m talking about real TV, not that scripted garbage they call “The Real World.”

I realize that I’m boiling into simplicity something that is in fact very complicated. The fact is that unless it could be arranged that everyone’s memory could be wiped the day after, this isn’t gonna happen. I guess watching Lester Burnham blackmail his boss is just my way of living vicariously unless I should stumble into a situation where I’m so loaded and delirious that I can spew all the word vomit I want. Oh, sweet liberation.


MICHELLE RICK will settle for National Cupcake Day if this never happens. Lay the honest truth on her at marick@ucdavis.edu.



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