“Can you take a selfie with us?” She says this to her phone, but I know it’s meant for me.
I freeze. I am a deer who believes headlights make it invisible. I am still and silent and I can smell my dirty hair from its perch atop my head. She fumbles with the Android while my beer-soaked bar rag hangs limply from my play-dead arm.
“I mean,” she says, “can you take a selfie of us, but you can stay there.”
My deer eyes blink confusedly.
“Like, can you take a selfie of our group?”
“Oh. You want me to take your photo?”
“Yeah,” she says.
To be fair, a four-hour open bar will get the best of most people. But it was a scary glimpse, that quick slip. That all photos of people can be referenced as “selfies.” Not scary in a narcissistic way, because, hell I love some good lighting, but scary in a, “everyone’s doing it wrong and we can’t fight it anymore,” way. The way I fear for all the “you’re”s out there, fighting the good fight.
Over Christmas, my dad and I tried to defend the grammatical use of “myriad” without prepositions.
“You would say ‘myriad reasons,’ not “the myriad of reasons,’” we said.
My brother said we were wrong, you could use it both ways.
“No way,” we said. My dad and I often speak in tandem. We went to the same journalism school, it only makes sense.
If the Internet is to be trusted, it turns out the original use of “myriad” is the one scoffed at by our alma mater today. Over time, people kept using it incorrectly, and eventually it changed. Not converted exactly, but the new version was allowed for — a sort of, “FINE, you can play with us,” concession.
This is the natural evolution of language. The extra “e” at the end of Olde English words, the “u” in “colour,” the hallmarks of our laziness become our new, industrious communication. Plus, I can admit when I’m wrong.
“That’s ridiculous,” we said. I can admit when I’m wrong after there are no other options, that is.
For years and years, people straight up refused to learn a word correctly, so grammatical institutions relented, and then turned back on the OG grammarists, like, what? You’re not wrong, but we can make fun of you now. The concession, the truce of it all, was befouled.
And I, being a present-day grammar snob, am now part of these myriad mean girls.
Kid President says we need less selfies and more peoplies. So if the word “photo” just won’t do anymore, I’d at least like to stick with that sentiment. People are kind of dumb but we sure aren’t persuaded easily.
I drop my bar rag, pick up the phone. I only hope “ur” never makes it into the Oxford Dictionary. But I take three peoplies, just in case one doesn’t work out.