How I learned to stop worrying and oh dear god will you shut up already

Derek Beyer
Sep 18, 2013 · Unlisted

Seriously, do you not realize how big of a freaking cliche “How I learned to stop worrying and love the _____” is by now? Do you even know what you’re referencing?

I blame the Internet. It’s making memes too powerful. I keep hearing that I should “Keep Calm and ______”. I saw a t-shirt the other day that didn’t even bother to copy the formatting correctly. It read “Keep Calm and It’s My Birthday” with each word in a different neon color.

These are not compelling, effective ways to communicate an idea. Yet somehow people actually think they’re being witty by plugging whatever the hell they want into these formulaic phrases. You are on auto-pilot. Wake the fuck up.

It’s like when people say “I could care less” when they mean the opposite. They haven’t thought about the actual meaning of what they’re saying. Except in that case they’ve merely misheard or misunderstood a piece of vernacular. Everybody has their blind spots. But when people use these dumb formula phrases they comprehend it and say to themselves, “Yeah, that’s clever and meaningful”.

Dr. Strangelove had a clever subtitle. And it was probably pretty clever the first 3 or 4 times that some big name newspaper or magazine ran an article that alluded to the film. Now it’s like a piece of gum that you started chewing hours ago; all the flavor is gone but you just keep mindlessly chewing away on that stale, grey piece of tack.

I’ve never seen it worse than it is on Medium. Everyone is learning to stop worrying and love things that don’t merit “worrying” about in the first place.

For example:

  • accounting conferences
  • the morning
  • climbing hills
  • small sample sizes
  • the fake nostalgia of Instagram
  • deadlines
  • the end of youth
  • coding
  • Big Data
  • the Cloud
  • Outlook
  • Oculus Rift
  • movies
  • New Year’s Eve
  • the medium (Of course you did. Bonus points for being meta.)
  • not having a phone

You may have noticed that the tech crowd is especially prone to this stupid trend.

Some people didn’t even bother to include the “love” part. They just banged on the format a bit until their square peg fit in the round hole. They learned to stop worrying and:

  • start writing tests
  • laugh at the mugger
  • shut my laptop
  • live without sugar
  • become one with the group
  • write a primer on social change

Winner of Most Mutilated Usage goes to: “how I saved my sanity and learned to love BitTorrent”.

And that’s just Medium. Five seconds on Google turns up people who learned to love fracking, 9/11, dubstep, and zombies.

I don’t mean to call any of you out individually. This is a call to action. We must find whatever degenerative brain disease is making all of you incapable of coming up with new ideas.

“How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” was a statement that sounded vaguely insane, but framed within an insane and self-destructive world came to represent a sort of pragmatic calm in the face of doom. You learning to accept some new start-up technology or alter you diet doesn’t exactly pack the same sort of meaning.

It’s utterly careless to fall back on stuff like this rather than spend more than 5 seconds and as many neurons on a subtitle. Really, you can’t have spent more than that. You had to have just typed the first thing that popped into your head.

Whatever. You’re not even listening. You’re too busy getting over your deep-seated fear of soup crackers, or public transportation. Be sure to tell us when you’re done so we can all hear about your exciting journey of personal growth.

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    Derek Beyer

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