On Being Awesome  

It was recently brought to my attention by the 12-year-old daughter of Christie's friend that the word "awesome" is in fact no longer awesome at all. Regretfully I didn't think to ask her what word(s) her generation was using to fill such gigantic vocabulatarian shoes, but I can't imagine any that would do even half as good of a job as the original. That doesn't mean I'm not a little fearful for one of my all-time favorite words. I'd prefer not to be in some rest home 50 years from now, swapping stories about where we all were the day that awesome died.

Part of the problem I think we're having in handing off awesome to the next wave of cool kids is that we've become lazy in our usage of it. So many have forgotten the great power it holds when used properly, choosing instead to bastardize it for insignificant everyday happenings in their lives. As a service to all who are hoping to find a path to the true meaning of awesome, I'm going to offer a quick refresher course for you all here today.

On What is Awesome

While the literal definition says that awesome means "inspiring awe" or "impressive," the things which it should actually be applied to remain quite subjective. Things that are simply cool do not also need to be referred to as awesome, hence the very existence of the word "cool." Now, something that is cool in a surprising way, that is awesome. For example:
  • Two guys giving each other a celebratory high five. COOL
  • Two old guys giving each other a celebratory high five. AWESOME
  • Two old guys giving each other a celebratory jumping high five. FUCKING AWESOME
Another indicator of awesome is the proportion to which the action benefits you:
  • You get promoted from assistant manager to manager at Pizza Hut. COOL
  • You get promoted from cashier to manager at Pizza Hut. AWESOME
  • You deliver pizza to a woman that engages you in revenge sex against her cheating husband, and then she tips you for it. FUCKING AWESOME
Awesome is also such a versatile word that it can transform from an adjective into a noun in certain cases, such as:
  • Naming a culinary dish with the word "Awesome" in there somewhere. AWESOME
  • Naming your child with the word "Awesome" in there somewhere. FUCKING AWESOME
Just please keep in mind people, no matter what part of speech its being used as, only in extremely rare cases is it awesome to have the word "awesome" tattooed on your body, i.e., you are memorializing someone in your family who was fortunate enough to have it for their name.

On Playful Variations

The English language can be a fun thing to mess around with, especially since the internet has helped us transform over half of it into slang. And while I appreciate a cool new word as much as the next guy, there are some pretty important things you'll need to consider before attempting to fuck with the standalone greatness that is awesome. For starters, if you want any chance at making an acceptable new word with it, you must ensure that the awesome is represented in its entirety, and with the correct spelling preserved:
  • Awesometastic -- AWESOME
  • Awe-freaking-some -- AWESOME
  • Awesrageous -- BAD
There's also brief consideration to be given to cutesy rhyming phrases like "awesome possum" or "awesome blossom." What I hope you'll briefly consider about these two is that you have no business even thinking them unless you're a youth minister or cheerleader, and even that doesn't necessarily make it right.

On Timing

While you can feasibly argue that some component of any given situation could be described as awesome, keep in mind that the value of timing is not to be overlooked:
  • While watching your buddy base jump from a skyscraper during a lightning storm. AWESOME
  • After his chute fails. NOT SO MUCH
  • After sex: AWESOME
  • During sex: YEAH... NO
On Contextual Importance

One final rule that I'd like to leave you with is that you must assess the addressee's circumstances before flinging a perfunctory awesome in their direction, and that recycling the usage of an awesome-anchored phrase could have potentially disastrous consequences:
  • You have awesome boobs! (Said to wife/girlfriend/buzzing sorority girl) AWESOME
  • You have awesome boobs! (Said to co-workers/flat-chested girls/pretty much any dude) FUUUUUCK
I won't go so far as to say that there are zero exceptions to these rules, but they are definitely solid enough for you to base your entire existence around. Plus I purposefully chose not to discuss the many sarcastic and cynical uses of awesome, since there are two very different schools of thought on that one. In the end, I think the most compelling argument for awesome is that you should never listen to anyone whose generation has placed Hannah Montana and The Jonas Brothers at the forefront of pop culture. Because if all they're going to do is waste our awesomes on those guys, we're totally going to have to call "take-backs" anyway.

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