OK, I’m tired of hearing the word “actually.” I’m actually sick of it. Really.
I mean, what does “actually” really mean? Most dictionaries define “actually” as “in reality”, really. I mean “really.” But why is it actually necessary to say “in reality” every couple of sentences. “In reality” I feel sick. Or “in reality” I don’t like people using “actually” every few sentences.
As opposed to what? Fantasy or unreality, right? But why should I have to quality my statement by stating so declaratively and affirmatively that what I’m talking about is not fantasy? Suppose instead I used a synonym “not in fantasy” or “factually.”
“Not in fantasy” I’m up late at night writing this. Or “factually” I’m listening to music right now. I’m sure if I substituted “not in fantasy” or “factually” and used it as often, that is, every couple of sentences, people would look at me peculiarly and might even think I’m crazy or stoned or something. Really.
Look, I’m not crazy. Not in fantasy, the truth is I’m retired and have nothing better to do that think about stuff like this. I mean, that’s what writers think about. Why do people have to qualify their statements by stating that whatever it is they are about to say is not fantasy but factually true?
And what does using “actually” say about the people who constantly overuse the word? You’ll hear it on the TV all the time—news anchors, so-called experts and commentators, special guests and celebrities. Some reporter will say something like, “I’m actually here in downtown Boston, the scene of the bank robbery.”
As opposed to what? “In my dreams” I’m here in downtown Boston. Why is it necessary for the reporters to tell us they’re not dreaming. Actually, I’m the one sitting in my Lazy-Boy half asleep trying to keep my eyes open and watch the news about some thwarted terrorist attack, drug bust or bank robbery.
I’m the one who should be saying “not in my dreams” because I’m just about sleeping as I write this. I actually think so. But the reporter is on the job on some busy street in downtown Boston. Sleeping is out of the question, especially when they’re questioning people and getting the scoop. How about when they’re reciting the report in front of all the cameras and shiny lights? Do they actually have to tell us they’re not dreaming at the time of the report?
You know what I think: people who use “actually” every other sentence are a bunch of pompous, pretentious phonies. They’re just plugging in words because they like the sound of their own voice. They’re full of themselves.
Anyway, now that I told you about “actually” you’ll begin to hear it constantly. You’ll say to yourself, “why is this sonnafagun constantly telling me he/she isn’t dreaming? What a phony. Really.”
But wait a minute, what if “actually” is merely a parasitic word, a meme, a computer virus? It’s just a word with no meaning that replicates itself like a parasite. Like junk DNA that replicates itself just for the sake of surviving from one generation to the next.
Consider this sentence. A gruff steel worker came home from a hard day at the mill and growled at his passive wife: “Take the fuckin’ dog out.”
In a discussion of parasitic memes we are forced to ask: what does reproductive, doggie-style coitus have to do with not wanting the dog to smell up the place? The “f-word” is a meme. It’s a parasite that contributes absolutely no meaning to the communication other than to make the speaker feel more macho, cool, or whatever the memetic hook happens to be.
So much for Intelligent Design. Nature is full of parasitism and it’s one of the earliest and successful forms of life. Parasites are everywhere, in the oceans, forests, deserts, even own digestive system and genome. They take a variety of shapes and sizes: from tiny viruses and protozoa, to roundworms, flatworms and tapeworms, to parasitic insects like mites and ticks, to epiparasites which parasitize other parasites. Parasites are everywhere. (The slime mold, Plasmodium, actually caused the human genome changes in an attempt to defend against malaria.)
They have even been seen in our own government and are called “lobbyists.” They do nothing except bride crooked politicians to enact laws and regulations favorable to the corporations they represent at the expense of the general welfare of the public or the environment.
Now we learn that not only our tongues are covered with flora, parasitic and benign bacteria, but our speech as well. That’s a mouthful. I actually think so.
P.S. I hate to tell you this, but when you repeatedly and continually hear the word “Actually” you’ll say to yourself, “Boy, Rich Goscicki was right.” Time to pick up an ebook of Mirror Reversal on Kindle or Smashwords.com to learn more about memetics.