Totally Random. I mean, Totally Sporadic.

June 18, 2003

Today Mike made kind of an observation that was sort of also a confession in a mini-rant that sort of came across as a random thought, and some other stuff. And it got me thinking.

First, I’m anal, so I checked through several of my older entries to see if I was guilty of committing these sins. I’m not as bad as I’d feared, but I do tend to use rant and random thoughts as ways of starting my entries. That’s no good. Sorry, readership. I’ll work on it.

I figure I should work on lessening my use of the word “random” in everyday conversation anyway. I should also probably work on lessening the use of words like “shit” and “motherfucker” and “cuntbag” as well, but that’s another entry.

The use of the word “random” in its present-day connotation (as close as I can explain, it’s kind of like ‘out of nowhere’) began to show up a lot when I was in high school. All of a sudden people were saying it all the time. We knew a girl who had moved here from another state a few years before. In that typical high-school way, she began to insist that she had been the inventor of “random” at my high school, having brought it with her along with her family and furniture and shit from Jersey, and that she was, frankly, getting a little annoyed that everyone was copying her all the time.

So someone in my circle of friends decided that, if Jared had really invented “random,” which we doubted, then we would all start saying something else to piss her off. Something that he would come up with that would come to mean the same thing.

In honor of its prominence in Clueless, the word Gus chose to “invent” was sporadic.

Which, if you have a basic grasp on English, is not quite a synonym for random.

And we were smart geeky kids. We knew this. But in that smart geeky kid sort of way, we figured that if we used it enough, it would catch on, and then everyone at the school would be saying it, and we would sit around in band class and joke and laugh about how cool, and possibly ironic, it was that we’d gotten all the sheep at our high school to start using a word to mean something completely different from what it actually meant.

And duh, that’s kind of what had happened with “random” in the first place.

But we gave it our all. For days – nay, weeks, we worked “sporadic” into everyday conversation wherever we had been saying “random,” and even on other, less relevant occasions.

Like “Hey, guys, I just had the most totally sporadic idea.”

Or “We were shopping at the DAV the other day, and these two sporadics were following us around and it was really creepy.”

And so on.

But for some reason, it never really seemed to catch on.

Whereas “random” has become annoyingly prominent in the speech patterns of many Americans. Present company included. But I’m going to be more conscious of it from now on.

So yeah, that was totally sporadic, but I just wanted to share it with everyone.

Filed under: old diaryland entries

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