For at least a decade, whenever I see an article/blog post/whatever ending with “Wait, what?” I feel two things: 1) Contempt for the writer’s lazy, clickbait approach to headlines, and 2) sudden, irrational rage.
I can’t really explain why, but there’s just something about seeing that stupid phrase tacked to the end of a headline that makes me roll my eyes hard enough to see the back of my skull. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen it done LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF TIMES, and it stopped being amusing after the first two or three.
But after so many years of personal anguish, I finally know that someone else out there feels my pain! Behold: the 2022 list of misused, bullshitty words and phrases that everyone (including you) should stop using:
The judges of a Michigan university’s cheeky annual “Banished Words List” have a message for texting and tweeting Americans: Your “wait, what?” joke is lame. The phrase topped Lake Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula lighthearted list of 10 “winners” chosen from among more than 1,250 submissions of overused, misused and generally groan-inducing words or phrases.
“Wait, what?” irritated nominators who felt the phrase intended to show astonishment or disbelief is overused.
The full list can be found here, and it’s pretty good. However, the real tragedy is that this stupid phrase has spilled out into meatspace. With the laziest of searches I found two books, a tech seminar, and a drag fashion show (which looks like a low-rent copy of “Trixie & Katya” to me) carrying this title. There are undoubtedly far more than these. Perhaps it’s…a pandemic?
Pssst…. Hey, you allegedly professional writers! Yeah, you tech bloggers. And makers of Top Ten lists, and 22 Different Things lists that pass as “articles” nowadays. You know who you are. I’ve gotta tell you something. It’s really important, are you ready? OK. Y’all need to stop this “Wait, what?” shit right now. Seriously. Just drop it. It’s old and overused, not to mention suuuuuper lazy. But most of all, it triggers people like me into wanting to fling their phones/tablets down the stairs in exasperation. Got it? Awesome! Now, run along — go finish that long-awaited masterpiece This App Cured My Toenail Fungus and that crucial list of 16 Spatulas We Got For Christmas That Made Getting COVID Totally Worth It you’ve been hacking away at for, like, a week.