I can’t deny that I’m getting old. I hail from the generation of Gamefaqs and Albino Blacksheep and from an era when we accessed Newgrounds just to play them ‘hentai’ games. Even back then, silly catchphrases and fads (or memes as they now call it) have existed around the internet and many experts can assure you that such things predate the existence of the web, Jesus, and dinosaurs. We all still remember when ‘all your base are belong to us’ was still funny and its tragedy of being beaten to death and finally vanished into obscurity. And I still remember how cakes are always miserable piles of lies and we all used to be an adventurer until we met vision-impaired archers that can only target certain part of our body. Notice that the last few examples are considered ‘newer’ on the net compared to Zero Wings and teh lulz. Yet I found all of them to be amusing even if in the end they all met the tragic end of being overused more than an overpriced Tenga. However there is something (call it meme, fad, trend, or Richard Dawkins if you like) that I just can’t stomach from its conception and that is YOLO.
I don’t want to spend an extra paragraph explaining what YOLO is since you just need to enter the term to Google and also because I wish to avoid polluting this post and upsetting my stomach by typing the term again and again (a catgirl dies every time I read that term because I enter berserk mode and commit coordinated specialized attack towards catgirls). So I will just get to the point why I hate it.
First, I’m not alone in my sentiment. You can find it here and here and if you take your time reading both articles you can see the reason behind my hate. It is term used by (mostly) teenagers and youngsters as their warcry before doing stupid things. For example in Twitter case: Just ran over the neighbor’s garden. He will be very mad… #YOL-ARGH!!!! THE STOMACH WON’T STOP TURNING AND CHURNING IN PAIN! MUST… EAT… CATGIRLS… That was something I just made up but trust me you will find similar tweets by checking the unholy hashtag on Twitter (and my response is genuine). But that is not the main point. ‘You only live once’ is basically just a reinvention of the old latin proverb ‘carpe diem’ meaning ‘seize the day’. It is an old proverb so it guarantees the meaning is not something new and probably been with us since our ancestors realized that after certain time (or after a fateful encounter with anachronistic T-Rex) some of their buddies just stopped moving and therefore they need to live their life to the fullest. But what different is that after learning the concept, our ancestors didn’t stupidly throw themselves to sabertooth tigers and Barney the Dinosaur and instead started preserving food, taking more care of their kin, and inventing wheels and pyramids or something. Carpe diem is a noble proverb and it tells you that every second of your life counts so you better live your life to the fullest, contributing not only to your own self but also to those around you. It reminds you that you only stay on this earth only for once (except them zombies, that’s why nobody invites them to parties) and you better not waste the moment in vain. Basically it is the total opposite of whatever people use YOLO (blergh!) for nowadays.
Second, it sounds stupid. A wise man once wrote about English words that need to be banned and I guarantee that YOLO (OH THE HUMANITY!) deserves special entry, probably in confined box, separated from the other convicted words. It sounds stupid, it is stupid, and forever it will be stupid. In Eastern countries, you instantly shame your ancestors and family by saying it and therefore must commit Sudoku to ensure you’re not infecting any innocent people after you’re being disowned and forced to perform blowjob with your dirty mouth that let that word lose in the first place to get money. It’s funny because I understand how many feel the same thing when LOL was the hot cake of the internet. LOL looks stupid but it is the cute and funny kind of stupid. You know when you’re watching a hyperactive puppy trying to chase its own shadow and you go ‘Aww… That stupid mutt’. It’s annoying to hear someone say LOL in real life but if they say it, they don’t need to fill a Japanese number puzzle. There’s no harm in LOL or ROFL or LMAO although all of them are stupid. But it’s different from… that. It is a different kind of stupid. It’s the vulgar stupid. It’s probably on the same scale if not even worse than potato gun silencer, drive-by bayoneting, and Jack Thompson. Maybe it will be more tolerable if being said as a nonsense that spewed out by people who are being possessed but hearing it along with coherent human language makes me sad for George English or Tony Bahasa Indonesia who invented the languages in the first place.
Third, it has something to do with my own country. It might be funny that I wrote article in the twilight of the term. Many now consider it ‘uncool’ and also stupid, a fate it deserves in the first place. However Indonesia is like those humorless people who grasped the concept of humor for the first time and told the same joke over and over and over again even in normal and formal conversation because it’s cool, hip, funny, life-changing, and overall not realizing the term ‘deader than a dead horse’ (like some kind of dead reanimated zombie horse or something). Everybody still put their faith in YOLO (ARGH!) and just two weeks ago I found the term being used in a motivation seminar. A MOTIVATION SEMINAR FOR HARUHI SAKE! This is the funny part: Indonesians love to take foreign terms and distort them into something that barely resembles its original form WHILE maintaining everything that makes the original annoying and disgusting. I know you will be saying ‘But, handsome, doesn’t that mean they finally reinvented the term back to the original meaning? The same latin proverb you praised two paragraphs ago with your beautiful voice?’ Well, Sally Nobody, maybe you are right but that is not the case. The term is praised without the praising person knows anything of the original meaning or the stigma it carries. Basically it’s the same as decorating a piece of shit with bows and frills and perfume but in the end it is still a piece of shit. It doesn’t matter how you cover it with positive trait and you distort its nature with ‘motivation’ in the end you’re still shoving shit to my face. Worse than that is how Indonesians managed to turn it into an advice! I know some use it as their motto and I hope they know how to Sudoku but giving it to someone else as an advice it totally wrong.
Case point! As an Indonesian I love to eat chicken and cow (and catgirls) offal and they’re quite delicious once you all stop looking at me with those judging eyes. Yet I know very well of the consequences. Animal offal contains high amount of uric acid and can cause gout to human. Because of that I tend to limit my consumption as much as possible. My limitation is not without reason because I can already feel how my leg joints can get numb and painful after consuming excessive number of offal. So during that month I had already enjoyed two meals that contain delicious intestines when my friend approached me treating me for a nice bowl of offal soup. I politely declined his invitation saying that I consumed too much offal that month. In his disbelief he told me this: ‘Why are you so worried? YOLO, man, YOLO!’ That sentence truly pushed my berserk button. He basically advised me to enjoy life more with ‘you only live once’ as the reason. Well, Motherfucker McDicksucker, do you know how well I know that I only live once? Maybe if you just use your brain for once you can understand that I decline you invitation because I know very well activities that might cost me this life that only one I have! In fact I’m a firm believer of ‘carpe diem’ and Yotsubato’s philosophy of ‘enjoy life’ and what he has basically done that I’m enjoying my life in the wrong way and should just do everything with no limit and consideration without realizing that some stuffs can actually lead me not enjoying life! See? That’s basically the flaw in ‘the motto’. It is something that is momentary with no regard of what is to come. People need to remember that life is not just matter of the present but culmination of we have done in the past and all the joy we will face in the future. We all often hear about how present is called a present because it’s a present but we shouldn’t consider our past and our future as something that is not part of our life. Enjoying our life is important but what is also important is respecting our life because, you know, we all only live once.