You ever feel like you work so hard and you’re so tired that when you stop and relax, everything feels like a wave flowing through you and your vision gets a little blurry, everything starts to hurt? That’s me right now. Anyway, here goes:
Everyone has an “um, actually” friend. You know who I’m talking about. They comment on everything social media or interrupt real conversations with a need to spread the facts.
“Um, actually, the apocalypse is supposed to happen in July of 2037, not 2038.”
Sometimes they’re wrong and sometimes they’re right and sometimes their comments are absolutely ballistic and you’re wondering what the hell is going on in that brain. Some Um-Actuallys are actually right most of the time (but still annoying) and there are others who just think they’re right or they mansplain or sometimes it’s a mix.
“Um, actually, the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that’s keeping you from sleeping with your ex. Unless you hurt it in a car accident or something. Good luck with that shit.”
I used to be an Um-Actually. Actually, I probably still am one of those people. Look at me now. You’re reading this blog. You know I’m an Um-Actually through and through. I share facts. I know what’s good, sometimes. I try to cite them as often as I can in these post-truth, late-capitalistic times.
“Um, actually, capitalism is forever and I foresee no end. All hail the CEO.”
They may be right sometimes, but they’re annoying and I know this because I’ve run into fellow Um-Actuallys a few times. I’m not sure if it’s just the combination of two Um-Actuallys in the same room (real or digital) that makes it annoying and entirely unbearable, or if it’s something else. Even if I know in my truest heart of hearts that they are right, I still want to punch them in the face for being so rude and so damn annoying. Am I that rude? I just want people to know the truth, that what they’re saying is totally wrong. Omg, they don’t even care, do they?
“Um, actually, heart of hearts is a horrible cliché and if you want to call yourself a professional writer, you might want to remove all clichés from your vocabulary.”
“Oh, but Frederick, actually, I’ve heard the opposite is true. Clichés are fantastic in the right context. If I were you, I would reconsider your personal writing style. “Um, actually” is somewhat of a cliché itself. See how I used “oh” instead of “um” there?”
How do we even address this problem? I, personally, have tried to become more aware of my butting-in to conversations with random-ass facts for fear of being unknowingly rude. I’ve changed the way I approach the conversation, adding phrases like, “I’m sure you already know this, but…” (and sometimes watching them squirm pretending they are the all-knowing maven of this topic that they believe I think they are when they actually don’t know what the hell I’m talking about) and “Hey, fun fact!” and “Lookee here, this is some fine info you might think is cool” and “hey-ooooohhh what a mighty-fine conversation you have here. Mind if I interrupt for juuuussssttt one sec?”
Try going to a college full of Um-Actuallys. That was the case at my first college before I transferred. I seriously love all my Hendrix maven buddies to death, but holy fuck, do we read too much? What is wrong with us? How do we become regular members of society? Why are most of us so damn cocky and how do we stop while also keeping everything fact- and evidence-based?
Seriously, this is a question. Answer it for me, maybe, because I don’t know.
Every single photo or gif in this post is from Warner Bros.