By Ahmed Latif
In the English language there are words like ‘facetious’; they are an ugly package in an ugly wrapping. Why is ‘facetious’ ugly you ask? Well, if you must know, this is why …
First of all, the aesthetic of the word: ‘facetious’ starts with ‘F’, much like ‘fascism’ and ‘fart’. ‘Facetious’ ends with ‘–ious’, much like ‘injurious’ and ‘ignominious’. ‘Facetious’ possesses a ‘C’ before a ‘T’; a classic violation of the ‘Rules of Beautiful Sounding Words’, developed in 1836. ‘Facetious’ contains ‘face-’ which is reminiscent of ‘ass-iduous’, which is in turn reminiscent of ‘annoying’; as in a special someone that annoys you all the time.
‘Facetious’ possesses an ugly appearance and pronunciation, but it also possesses a definition of equivalent or greater ugliness. ‘Facetious’ means frivolous, as in ‘I am just being facetious and wasting your time’. ‘Facetious’ also means humorous or amusing. However, it is used exclusively by people who think they are humorous when in fact they are alone in that thought. ‘Facetious’ is often utilized to cover up a literal remark which failed to register as humour. Example: “So what are you going to do, break the microwave door? … Relax, I was just being facetious!” There is nothing amusing about this situation, least of all the use of the cursed, not curse, word ‘facetious’.
After all this evidence, I must confess that I hate the word ‘facetious’ for more personal reasons. You can say that I possess a vendetta against the word ‘facetious’. ‘Facetious’ was used in my Convocation ceremony by the Dean, a man who confessed that his “generation destroyed the world and you need to fix it but also make a buck while you are it!” ‘Facetious’ was used by a convoluted know-it-all satirist who thought his writing was better than mine; it was. ‘Facetious’ was uttered by intellectual bullies who thought it likely that I did not own a thesaurus.
‘Facetious’, and its proper use, were at the center of arguments that contributed to, or resulted in, the termination of 13 friendships and strained another 45. ‘Facetious’ was even there to mock me on my first day of school. Little did I know that this would signal the beginning of my lifelong battle with this pusillanimous word.
‘Facetious’ cheated off of me in Gym class. ‘Facetious’ made arguments contrary to mine in class debates, just for the hell of it. ‘Facetious’ berated me for my choice of attire when it was too late to do anything about it; who knew you can’t go to a waterpark in formal suit? Well you can but … you know.
More recently ‘facetious’ has taken to low measures, even for ‘facetious’. It manipulates the national inflation rate to ensure that everything is always just beyond my means and that nothing is ever affordable. ‘Facetious’ litters in my neighbourhood park, even worse it litters pine cones from another park. ‘Facetious’ reads books backwards and then encourages you to read them normally; sarcastically encouraging you all along.
‘Facetious’ motivates you to run regularly by saying ‘I’ll run with you’ and that ‘we’ll start a running group together’; but it never shows up. Then when you confront it, its excuses are always admirable, such as: feeding the hungry that are also homeless in a hospital housed in an orphanage. ‘Facetious’ criticizes you when you mispronounce the names of famous Opera sopranos but never tells you the correct pronunciation.
‘Facetious’ congratulates you on your success but you know it doesn’t mean it. ‘Facetious’ invites you to lunch but only pays for itself and then remarks “You can afford to pay for yourself right? I mean I could always pay for you but I don’t want to emasculate you and all…”
‘Facetious’ is the worst! It believes the best revenge is success yet it is always more successful than you. ‘Facetious’ is a great hiker and is always asking “do you need me to slow down and wait for you?”
‘Facetious’ contributes money to opposing political parties and watches the election coverage with face-paint, foam-thumbs, and vuvuzelas. ‘Facetious’ asks telemarketers and collection agencies “can I put you on hold for a moment?” ‘Facetious’ hums its own Muzak in the elevator.
If of all of this did not convince you to hate ‘facetious’ too, then I offer you the pièce de résistance in my thesis against ‘facetious’. It wrote a three act play about the functionality of pseudonyms. I mean come on, right? Does no one else see this? That’s just ridiculous!