Where There’s Smoke, There’s Grammar

At first I thought it was a localized trend exclusive to my school. A colloquialism kept within that particular “academic” community. Then I heard it when I changed schools. I hear it at work and on the streets. The predicate, “smoke a cigarette,” is all over and is scary as hell

Now I really don’t give a fig about the actual smoking of the aforementioned ciggy. This isn’t some anti-tobacco rant, so you may read on. It’s the fact that the clarification is needed is what gets me. Why all of a sudden are people declaring what’s about to be smoked?

Then it hit me…. I realized who’s responsible. Potheads! Blankity-blank-blank Potheads! Potheads are re-textbook-izing the English language. Can you taste the irony in this? Mental burnouts are beginning to speak all academic like. And it’s all because the simple verb “smoke” now refers to using illegal substances. For example: “I smoked at lunch.” “I once smoked at Six Flags.” “I smoked in church.” Etc.

It’s obviously a code. It’s a code that doesn’t fool anyone and it’s a code that now forces others to create annoying strings of words! I mean there’s nothing wrong with adding academic flavor to your speech. But you all sound like a bunch of failed English as Second language teachers whenever you need a cigarette. You question the need to say “fume un cigarrillo” in Spanish… why start the trend in the mother tongue?

You may wonder why I care. Well, unfortunately, the pothead culture has some mysterious force upon pop culture (like the moon on waves or assholes on the economy); and I fear this over-declaration in the English language trend will expand and become the vernacular.

The trend’s already long latched onto “drink.” “I need a drink,” means so much more than a thirst for water. I fear one day the simple predicate “murder somebody” will have to be clarified into “slowly drain the blood of the wordy loser with dilated eyes and smelly clothes.”

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Written by

Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston