YOLO is Banned in 2013

So Katelyn and I were driving down to Ocean Beach to poke some anemones (tide pools) and I saw this monstrosity:


“Seriously?” I said, and took a picture. YOLO has been around for almost 10 years. I can’t believe they’d use it in a business name…again.

The earliest known use of the acronym is attributed to Adam Mesh from the third season of the NBC reality show The Average Joe. Mesh launched the “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) clothing line on March 20th, 2004.

YOLO kind of represents everything I hate.

Hippies have been pointing out for decades that you ought to make the best of your one life, and appreciate the beauty in the world, and climb that mountain, and dream that dream…all I hear is “yammer yammer I baked in the sun too long.” I realize that makes me sound ungrateful, but you didn’t grow up with my mother. Her happiness is real, and bleeds from her warmth and glitters in her sweat and frazzles her blonde curly hair. She’s not faking it, we’re not the Smiths, and I grew up listening to her gleeful groans and lip-smacks and giggles every day of my life. So I’d prefer expressions of thankfulness for this planet to omit that fuzzy-wuzzy psuedo-spiritual suckling-on-teats-of-milk-and-honey jargon of flower children. The phrase “mother earth” makes me vomit in my mouth a little.

That’s the literal interpretation of YOLO.

Then there’s how it’s actually used. For whatever reason, young people determined that the best solution to only living once is to be as idiotically reckless as possible. If I kept up an avid mindfulness that I only live once, I’d throw all my food in my Vitamix and eat it through a straw. I’m so prone to choking I can barely drink a glass of water. As Jack Black infamously pointed out, YOLO has turned into Carpe Diem for stupid people. I just want to know, how is throwing on a trucker hatt, getting smammered, and drooling on a young woman while she gyrates against your crotch seizing the day? I do that like every single night.

The hipsters haven’t been quite so relentless as the SWAG-ers, so I can’t say I’m particularly perturbed when someone says, “hashtag YOLO,” either deadpan or with that sly drawl of irony. Still, that happens. Yay.

The good news is that some tiny state university that I never heard of is officially banning YOLO from common use:

Other banned, overused terms: Guru, Trending, and Job Creators

Other banished, overused terms: Guru, Trending, and Job Creators…


I really doubt me pointing this out will stop anyone from slapping you-only-live-once on an Instagram picture, but I’m pretty sure this acronym has about died on its own. Just don’t tell that to YOLO Board.

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