And the worst word of the pandemic is…


Online learning! Virtual learning! Remote learning! In-person learning! On site learning! Learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, learning!

Familiarity certainly breeds contempt. The word is now nastier than “moist” and more cringe-inducing than “panties.” If I’m eating a big meal at the dinner table with my family and given the choice between hearing “learning” and “smegma” I will take “smegma” every day of the week. It’s worse than “bae” and makes “fake news” sound reputable.

I hate it.

I vividly remember watching the news a couple months ago. After twenty minutes of non-stop stories using that damn word, I was beyond relieved to see the weatherman. “Finally,” I thought, “a blessed reprieve from this hell.” My heart sank as he began an introduction focused on how the forecast was going to affect the students of our great commonwealth. I braced myself. Right when I thought he was about to unleash the dreaded l word, he paused, seemed to consider things, and used “school” instead. I pumped my fist in unbridled joy.

A big part of my revulsion is the wholesome sheen it puts on a process that is loaded with more bullshit than a Q Anon field trip to an MLM convention. I’m not going to sit here and tell you school isn’t important, but shifting the terminology to “learning” glosses over just how many parts of that experience are unnecessary cruft. My teachers were great and I will always be thankful for them and everyone else who does that job, but maybe half the school day was dedicated to actual learning–which I’d argue is entirely because humans are gonna human. Are we really going to take all the ego-driven lectures about respect, disruptive classmates, unnecessary repetition, irrelevant life lessons, and overwhelming pile of social drama, wrap all that up in the shit sandwich that is Zoom, and call it “learning?” Fake news bae moist smegma panties, I say to that. Stick to “school.” It’s much more accurate.

Like so many events in the modern world, this whole thing is even making George W. Bush seem less terrible. I miss the innocent days when we thought “Is our children learning?” was the worst thing that could happen to the term.

Now all that said, we could be stuck in this pandemic for the next decade and “learning” would still not approach the horror of the absolute worst word in the language: “emails.” God, just typing that sent a shiver down my spine. Pardon me while I grab the salt and make a circle around my couch in case that summoned a demon.

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