5 Words We Should Never Use Again. Literally.

PittGirl reminds you that certain words once were saved for those who’d earned the designation.



 

If there’s one thing social media does exceptionally well, it’s diluting the meaning and power of words — watering them down until they’re mere ombre shades of their previous vibrancy.

Awesome? That word used to be reserved for purple mountain majesties or the indescribable wonders of the unreachable heavens. Things that awestruck us were awesome. Today, the term can be used to describe a slightly witty Paula Deen meme.

Amazing? Not long ago, it was amazing if you survived a ride over the Niagara Falls in a barrel filled with nothing but old kitchen towels, dryer lint and fervent prayers. It was amazing if you put your head in the mouth of a hungry lion and lived to tell about it. Today, every plate of food on Instagram and pair of strappy red shoes on Pinterest is “amazing!”

Epic? Well, tsunamis and wars can be epic. A base jump from the Eiffel Tower is epic. Turning water into wine? Beyond epic and also . . . best party guest ever! In this day and age, the new Rihanna video is epic — but not nearly as epic as the *N Sync reunion or the hashtagged tweets of former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

In fact, a quick search of social media has users describing their coffee, hair and “day at school” as epic. You know what? Unless Barack Obama, Bono and Justin Timberlake were there to lead your trig class in the Funky Chicken before handing out giant bags of cash, I promise your school day wasn’t even in the same hemisphere as epic.

Here’s another good one: “epic communication skills.” I feel a “get-off-my-lawn” moment coming on. It’ll pass.

To be honest, I’m just as guilty in how I use those words. For example, I, as have many others, once described a burp as epic.

Now let’s talk about “hero” — one of the most important words in the English language. It describes the glory that should be showered on the bravest, most selfless of men and women. It should make you want to stand up and salute something. Heroes save lives. Heroes make lives better. Heroes are why we’re a free nation. Heroes land the plane on the Hudson River — or at least they used to.

Today, they eat the most hot dogs in 90 seconds, fix your Wi-Fi and bring the doughnuts. Yes, in those instances, the word often is said in jest. Still there are real local heroes who deserve the full potency of the word, not the diluted descriptor it’s become.

For 30-plus years, Albert Lexie donated his shoeshine tips to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to the tune of more than $200,000. Hero.

Dressed as a homeless man, Dr. Jim Withers has treated 26,000-plus homeless individuals on Pittsburgh’s streets since 1992. Hero.

Police officers Eric Kelly, Paul Sciullo II and Stephen Mayhle gave their lives while serving and protecting the people of Pittsburgh. Heroes.

2010 co-Pittsburgher of the Year Jamie McMutrie literally risks her life daily in Haiti as she bucks the country’s broken orphanage system. Hero.

As a side note: Don’t even get me started on the destruction of the word literally; I literally could fill this entire issue with that rant.

Every teacher who instinctively throws his or her body protectively over a child, every man or woman who volunteers to enter burning buildings, every airman or airwoman at the 911th and 171st, every local service member deployed abroad — those are heroes in the most concentrated sense. Not the Pirates fan who took a drunken celebratory leap from the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

You see, the real hero in that sentence is Roberto Clemente.

Or, according to one young Twitter user: “Justin Bieber is my hero. He literally went from nothing to the top of the world.”

I lied. The moment didn’t pass. Get off my lawn.

Want to be amazing in my book? If you can get the awesome malternative Zima back into production, that would be epic and you will, quite literally, be my hero.

What?


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.
HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

HGTV Series Pilot Focuses on Renovation of Pittsburgh Home

The pilot episode of “Steel City Rehab” follows a Pittsburgh couple as they flip a home in the city’s East End.
‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

‘The Good Wife’s’ Zach Grenier Appears on the Pittsburgh Stage

Grenier on playing the dream role of Willy Loman, coming to Pittsburgh and performing at the renowned Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

Enjoy a Cocktail to Help Preserve Pittsburgh's Historic Murals

The nearly 80-year-old murals by Maxo Vanka show an immigrant's’ perspective on important issues.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in May

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh 2017

Pittsburgh’s medical lifesavers rated by their peers, including anesthesiologists, cardiologists, dermatologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, surgeons, urologists & many more.
Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Health Care in Pittsburgh that Goes Beyond the Office

Innovations in Postpartum Depression Treatment, First-Aid Training and Food Security.
Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

Looking Back: Dan Rooney, Remembered

The builder of two stadiums, a billion-dollar football business, NFL labor harmony and racial sensitivity, and bridges between constituencies –– he was an everywhere man whose soft, steady hand was felt everywhere.
Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

Restaurant Review: DiAnoia's Eatery Bridges the Gap

With a little work, the Strip District restaurant could become a Pittsburgh classic.
Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Pittsburgh at the Forefront of The Brain Revolution

Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive ailment to treat and the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Pittsburgh has become a battleground in the fight against the devastating illness, thanks to the decade-long quest of two Pittsburgh researchers whose work is on track to change the face of medicine and affect millions worldwide.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

New Study: Pittsburgh Drivers are The Worst of the Worst

Pittsburgh ties with one other city for having the worst drivers in the nation.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Scratch Food & Beverage Has a New Executive Chef

Brandon Blumenfeld introduces an American gastropub menu at the Troy Hill bar.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Five Essential May Events

Five Essential May Events

Comics (the kind on paper), comics (the kind with microphones), cats and more upcoming delights.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

‘Use Him Like ‘Troy Polamalu’ – Steelers Should Jump on This Pick

If Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers is still available, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be wise to make him their first-round pick in the NFL draft.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Pittsburgh on a Plate

Pittsburgh on a Plate

The way to a beer lover’s heart is mapped out on notNeutral’s plate, which highlights Pittsburgh breweries (and other points of interest) across the city.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

Sink Into a Trippy High School at Row House Cinema

The Pittsburgh premiere of offbeat cartoon "My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea" is the local film event of the week.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

Beautiful Blooms: Twists on the Traditional Bouquet

You’ll definitely want the story behind these stunning wedding flowers.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Rare Plants, Accessories, Up for Grabs at 2017 Garden Marketplace

Hosted by the Penn State Master Gardeners, the free event, which includes the local daffodil society’s annual show, features exclusive and hard-to-find flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetable plants and other garden accessories from a variety of vendors.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

A-Rod to Talk Baseball and Steroids at Slippery Rock

Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Alex Rodriguez also is one of the league's more controversial stars.

Comments