There’s times when I truly despair for the youth of today. Yes, I know every generation has their own favoured expressions and way of saying things. Just in the time I’ve been around, and just talking about expressing something as good, I’ve heard the terms
- the shit (or da shit)
- the bee’s knees
- the cat’s ass
- cool (or coolio, kewl)
- cool beans
- the bomb (or da bomb)
- mah-vah-lus (marvelous)
- far out
- fly (or superfly)
- hot (or hawt)
- jolly good
- kick ass
- off the hook (or off da hook)
- outta sight
- prime (or primo)
- radical (or rad)
- right on
- peachy keen (or peachy)
- snootchie bootches
- to die for
- wicked (or wicked cool, way cool)
That’s just one term…I haven’t even gone near sexy, or smart, or stupid, or good looking, or ugly, etc.
What this all leads up to, however, is knowing which words to choose when approaching someone you don’t know for the first time. In person, that’s a little easier, because you can see how they dress, how they interact with others, things like that. You get some clues.
Over the internet, it’s a bit different. Yes, if you can see their Facebook page, or read their blog, or their tweets, you can still get a sense of the person. There’s a few people I’ve recently begun interacting with online whom I’ve never met in person, but I think I already have a pretty good sense of their values, their sense of humour and their general outlook on life.
What I’m saying is, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Take some time if you can.
So, with all that in mind and, again at the risk of making myself sound old and curmudgeonly, I present the following exchange I had with a moron who messaged me on Facebook. All spelling and grammar is as it was originally presented to me.
Yo husler what`s good dawg? add me
Who are you and why should I add you? Dawg.
I want to learn more bout your books! your producing man.
At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I’m going to give you some advice. Why? Because aside from writing, this is also what I do. I’ve spent many years dealing with young adults such as yourself trying to network, or find out more about something that interests them.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. You’re not doing it the right way.
First off, learn to spell and use grammar. You’ve graduated from school, so show it…especially to someone you know writes. “Hustler” has a t. Sentences start with a capital on the first letter. “About” has an a. “You’re” is what you meant to say. Finally, “add me” is a command, not a request.
Second, you’re not Eminem. As cool as you may think it sounds to throw out the “dawg’s” and the “husler’s” and all the other colloquialisms that make you sound like a “playa”…it really doesn’t. You sound like you’re fifteen. I know you’re not. When you’re addressing someone you don’t know, assume they speak and write proper English.
Finally, say what you mean, mean what you say. “Yo husler what`s good dawg?” tells me absolutely nothing. If you’re interested in my book, let me know up front, because you know I don’t know you. That saves you time and impresses me because you communicated properly up front. And don’t command someone to add you. Ask. Nicely.
Do I sound like a boring old asshole now? Maybe. But trust me when I tell you I’ve given you good advice. And I’m not pissed with you, nor do I hold anything against you. I just think you need a little more experience in dealing with those outside your social circle, so I thought I’d offer up some pointers to help you along.
So, I’ll let you decide. Do you still want me to add you? If not, you can still get information from my Vanishing Hope page, and from my blog (tobinelliott.wordpress.com).
Ball’s in your court.
you chirpin? i am fifteen. yu callin me old, daweg? playa is spelt “player” Grammer is badd, are you guwd or ar you freshh? you deciide
Yeah, okay. We’re done here.
And that was the end of it. By the way, though he states he is fifteen, I don’t believe him, as his Facebook page states “Class of 2011” for his high school, which means he’s more like seventeen, or he’s a liar, or he’s so stupid he just changes it for each year as he makes it through.
I don’t envy his teachers.
And trust me, I get it that, at the end he was just trying to wind me up and provoke a response. So I obliged him by blocking him.
Now, contrast that with two requests I’ve received recently from a couple of students from the local college.
The first one was about a month ago and stated;
I’m reaching out to you because I am a journalism student at Durham College and I have an assignment where I need to conduct an interview with a person who is “newsworthy.” And I thought you would be a great interview.
I would love to interview a published writer, and I figured why not a published writer who also teachers Creative Writing? It is my dream to be a published author, and I thought I could learn a lot from an interview with you.
I was also unsure if you would reply to a message on your novella’s FaceBook page, so I thought I would find your actual account.
If you are willing to be interviewed, or even if you’re not, if you could message me back it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time.
The second one came this weekend and stated:
My name is <removed>. I am a second-year journalism student at Durham College. I was wondering if you were available in the next week for an in-person or over the phone interview regarding creative writing. I am specifically looking at the therapy behind art forms such as writing. I am a poet myself hoping to pursue publication upon completion of my studies.
If you require any additional information please feel free to let me know.
Thank you for your time and and consideration.
In both cases, I’ve done everything I can to assist them and they’ve both been nothing but pleasant and courteous the whole way through.
They’ve been a pleasure. Now, you could argue that the last two have more experience than the first one, and I’d have to agree, but I’m guessing there’s, at most, two years separating the first guy from the other two. You could argue the second two are in Journalism and are training for this, but the first guy also expressed an interest in “my books” so I’m guessing has a passing interest in writing as well. You could also argue that I was a little more confrontational with the first one, but the “husler”, “dawg”, and “add me” managed to push several of my buttons, which is my point. When you’re reaching out to someone for the first time, you want to avoid pushing certain buttons. And I did give him a chance. I really did.
I started out this blog by saying I despair for the youth of today, however, as I’ve worked my way through to this point, at least I can say two out of three recent interactions have been incredibly positive.
They’re the ones that restore my hope.