You may have seen the hashtag #YOLO floating around the internet recently. You may have heard it shouted in your local mall, on the street, or even in your own home. But do you know what it means? Because I sure as hell don't.
YOLO is, apparently, a motto that young people are living by these days. It stands for ''You Only Live Once'' and according to The Washington Post is a modern day ''carpe diem'' for Gen Y and Z. What I'm really glad the Post picked up on though, is that it seems to be a phrase of ignorance, a verbal shrug of the shoulders as you do something stupid.
When I say ''stupid'', it can range anywhere on the YOLO spectrum (that I just invented). At one end you have the ''That Makes Sense YOLOs'' like yelling it before you go bungee jumping or things that actually seize the day. From there it moves to the middle ground of the YOLO spectrum, to ''Harmless YOLOs'' like eating an entire jar of Nutella in bed. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is the commonly used phrase ''What Is Wrong With You YOLOs''.
These are the comments so stupid, that my eyes and ears are going to explode from just reading or hearing them.
From drink-driving to save $20, beating someone up because of racism or violence, or (I got this one from Twitter) not liking the car you got for your 16th birthday and deliberately wrecking it so you can get the one you really wanted.
This one is from Twitter too: ''Funniest thing happened yesterday. Chick crossed street drunk almost got hit. The cab driver screams out the cab '' YOLO'' lol smh #classic''. Lol! Wouldn't that have just been so funny if that girl had died? That is so classic.
The crux of the argument lies in ''beating someone up because of racism or violence''. If you replace the words ''racism or violence'' with ''YOLO'', it's supposed to make anything acceptable. It suggests that you're doing something positive to enrich your life. You only live once, so you should do something regardless of the consequences.
Idiots, that's not that point. You only live once means you have one life. Don't ruin it. Don't spend your time believing ''seatbelts are for pussies #YOLO'' or ''don't use condoms. Condoms suck #YOLO'' (those are from: yolo-tips.tumblr.com).
Oh my God, bring back planking!
I guess it's the same for any generation. There are always going to be weird sayings that don't make sense. Our ''epic'' and ''sick'' are like our parents' and grandparents' ''groovy'' and ''copacetic''.
But can anyone tell me if there was an old phrase similar in meaning and consequence to YOLO?