Okay, time for a tangent. Warning, nerd on nerd hate incoming.
When I first went from Beaver High School to Harvard University, I was amazed at how frequently my fellow students deemed phenomena to be
2. “meta”, or
which were really none of the above.
That first week, I even went back to my dorm and looked up the definition of arbitrary to see if there was some other meaning of the word I had never known. I kid you not. Example:
Harvard student A: I went to the Widener to study this morning, but it was closed. I guess it doesn’t open until 6 am.
Harvard Student B: Random.
No. It’s not! It’s perfectly logical and predictable and probably based on intentional calculation, nerdlinger.
Harvard Student C: My professor was totally talking about fruit flies today, and I was like, I worked with fruit flies in my other class last semester.
Harvard Student D: That’s so meta.
I think you mean coincidental, and possibly not even that if they were both for genetics classes or something.
Harvard Student E: In the past, there’s always been a 10 page final paper for this class, but this time, she changed it to 15.
Harvard Student F: Arbitrary.
Maybe, I guess. I mean, sure, the professor might have capriciously changed the paper length, but more likely than not she had sound reasons based on past experiences. Besides, I don’t think you even meant arbitrary. I think you really meant, “Bummer.”
Which reminds me! Remember that Alanis Morissette song (which I love) which lists a series of mostly-non-ironic bummers and asks, “Isn’t it ironic?” My friend Ed and I (who also loves that song) would listen to it and answer her all the way, “Nope. Not ironic.” or “Possibly ironic, but probably not.” Hey, you asked, Alanis.
Thereafter whenever we or any of our friends employed or referred to irony, we would chortle with smug derision, “It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.”
I have arbitrarily attached a photo of 55+ people in my house for my studio’s recital to this post. My favorite part of this picture is Veronica’s face calling her mom to see if her parents are going to make it. They did.