Wednesday, August 29, 2012


The YOLO Champion of the World

"Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression — because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life. Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once ... but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.”

In an essay on slang for the Boston Globe, Ben Zimmer considers YOLO, and quotes English teacher David McCullough Jr. (above, coiner of YLOO — "yaloo"?), as well as the 1748 novel Clarissa, which includes the line "We live but once in this world; and when gone, are gone from it for ever." Okay now the YOLO tattoo.


53 Comments / Post A Comment


Clarissa! No! Don't take his hand! Don't take... what exactly is she taking from him there?


@SarahP His geoduck.

Heat Signature

@Emby Is that a euphemism?


@Heat Signature Geoduck is nature's euphemism.


@Emby It's really the nails that do it.


@Emby I had never heard of a geoduck before, and I wish it could have stayed that way.

But yeah that's totally what it is.

Lily Rowan

@SarahP PS: Say it "gooey duck."

Daisy Razor

@Lily Rowan Does anyone know why it's spelled "geoduck" but pronounced "gooey duck"? That has always bothered me. Well, okay, bothered me since the Dirty Jobs episode in which I learned of geoducks' existence.


@Daisy Razor Pure laziness and stubbornness--the people who heard the original native word pronounced "gooey duck" misspelled it and couldn't be bothered to find a more correct spelling. True story.

Lila Fowler

@Emby AHHH. That is definitely what crawls out of my shower drain in all my worst nightmares. I actually have the chills and need to go lock my bathroom door. Eughhhhhhh


@Daisy Razor Wikipedia says it's 'derived from a Lushootseed (Nisqually) word gʷídəq" meaning "dig deep"'.

Lily Rowan

@Daisy Razor Wikipedia says: the odd spelling is likely the result of poor transcription rather than anything having to do with ducks.



@rayray P.S. Ew.


@rayray No, it's delicious!

Haley Mlotek

Questioning YOLO is like the antithesis of everything YOLO stands for.

Lily Rowan

Predicting now that I hear my mother say YOLO by Christmas.


@Lily Rowan I hate when the internet escapes out into real life. I mean, really I hate most internet memes, but at least they're less embarrassing when they stay confined to our screens.

Heat Signature

@Lily Rowan Also predicting the proliferation of YOLO logos on 65% of Wal-Mart and Claire's merchandise targeted at teens and tweens during that same time frame.

Lily Rowan

@Heat Signature ABsolutely.

Now I just have to remember not to say it to my mother, since I think we are about equal in our half-joking use of the slang of Those Kids Today.


@Lily Rowan My mom is already using YOLO. She picked it up from my sister, and now uses it to mock her, in entirely inappropriate places.

Yesterday, our neighbor was at the house with my mom lamenting that she only gets one-word texts from her son since he went off to college last week, and my mom advised her to just send him a one word text next time he wanted something.

The word she recommended? YOLO


@Lily Rowan My boyfriend's boss used YOLO in a welcome address for new college freshmen last week. To encourage them to take challenging classes and/or pick up a minor in a liberal arts discipline. I don't know how it was received.


@Lily Rowan My mother recently signed off on an email to my sister:
"Love from YOLO,

I really don't know what she thinks it means, but I don't want to correct her.

Lily Rowan

@redonion Ahhh! SHE is the YOLO champion of the world.


@redonion Your Only Loved One?


@cuminafterall It would fit in with her line of thinking....


@redonion I once sent a text to my mom telling her I failed a test. She wrote me back "lol". When I called her to ask why she was laughing at me she said "doesn't that mean lots of love?" I told her it meant laugh out loud and she got this sick look on her face and said "Oh no! I just sent that to my friend who's husband died!" I didn't know if I should feel really bad for her or laugh.


Just gonna leave this here for you.

fondue with cheddar

How about YOLT? Yesh.


@jen325 One life for yourself and one for your dreeeeeeams


@jen325 LLALL (Lovers Live a Little Longer).

fondue with cheddar

YOLO just makes me want to eat Rolos.


@jen325 Rolo McFlurries are the true YOLO totems.

fondue with cheddar

@rbrtposteschild I'm a huge fan of candy and milkshakes, but I'm not a fan of mixing them together. I'll bet it tastes delicious, though.


@rbrtposteschild Don't the Rolos get weirdly hard?

fondue with cheddar

@iknowright That's not a weirdly hard pack of Rolos in my pocket.

Pop Pop

What about those of us who are Hindu and believe in reincarnation?? What then?? YOLA (You only live always)? Or, YOLUYAT (You only live until you achieve transcendence)?


In Buffalo we say, WLWYCD? Why Live When You Can Die? Which, I guess, is a depressing, rust-belt way to say, IF YOU'RE NOT LIVING THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL DIE.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@idealdeath I would have thought Buffalo-ians would say, YOLTEBOW. You Only Live To Eat Beef On Weck. :)


I learned YOLO this summer at the Jersey Shore, when I wondered aloud what this random shit was printed on all the tee shirts and booty shorts. My husband's younger cousins filled me in. I also learned what FOMO is, and one other one but I forget (because I'm old?)

There was also a lot of clothing printed with hashtags, such as "#SENIORS."I guess Ocean City NJ has a high concentration of tweeting senior citizens. Good for them though, it's important to stay connected.


@punkahontas Wait, FOMO? What is that? (My brother used to send me texts that just said "FooFooMoo? Foom foom foom moo," and now I am even more concerned than I used to be.)


I'm always curious as to whether adults who use this term know the actual lyrics to the Drake song. They're using a phrase as advice from a song that also says:

Some Spanish girls love me like I’m Aventura
Tell Uncle Luke I’m out in Miami too
Clubbing hard, Fuckin’ women ain’t much to do
Wrist blang, got a condo up in Biscayne
Still getting brain from a thang, ain’t shit changed

Or even:

My team good, we don’t really need a mascot
Tell Tune “light one, pass it like a relay”
YMCMB you niggas more YMCA
Me, Freddie, Marley Marl at the cribbo
Shout goes out to Niko, Jay and Chubbs, shout to Gibo
We got Santa Margarita by the liter
She know even if im fuckin with her, I don’t really need her
Aohhh, That’s how you feel man?
That’s really how you feel?
Cause the pimpin’ ice cold, all these bitches wanna chill
I mean maybe she won’t
Then again maybe she will
I can almost guarantee she know the deal,
Real nigga what's up?

I mean, yeah, YOLO mom!


@hotdog Almost drowned in her pussy so I swam to her butt YOLO


Ah, THAT'S what it means.


@Megano! Totally my reaction as well. And then, "Meh."


@KatPruska Yup, same here. Actually it was more like, "that's kinda dumb."


It was the day I googled YOLO that I knew I was becoming an old.

But I'm still seriously considering getting this shirt from Questionable Content.

Roaring Girl

I am not actually sure that changing it from YOLO to YLOO does anything to change the meaning. I could be wrong, but English is annoyingly flexible like that.

hero worship

I live in west Sacramento which is a part of Yolo County. The sign welcoming you to Yolo County makes me laugh every single time. Less funny is the county's recent decision to try to market itself and capitalize on the name to appeal to tourists.


The YOLO Wallpaper. You. Are. Welcome.

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