1. _______, they said. It will be fun, they said.
Go to work, they said. It will be fun, they said. You've all heard it, but you have no idea where it came from.
Several years ago, an anonymous writer associated with DreamWorks wrote a script for an animated movie about three penguins who sojourn from the South Pole to the North Pole because they do not believe that no penguins live on the other side of the earth. The sidekick character, Penelope Penguin, will not do anything unless she is certain it will be fun. Therefore, the other two penguins spend most of the movie telling her things like, "Come to the North Pole with us. It will be fun!" When the activities they suggest later cause the dark night of the soul moment near the conclusion of the film when Penelope is hanging over a volcano and she has an existential crisis, she says things like, "Go on a road trip with us, they said. It will be fun, they said."
Unfortunately, the movie was never produced. I'm not sure why. I thought it sounded interesting.
"Yolo!" the young whippersnapper shouts as he walks into the classroom to take the test he did not study for. Why does he say this? I'll tell you.
It all began with an elementary school-aged child who spent most of his time begging on the streets in New York City. He didn't have many clothes to wear, and the rags he had resembled pirate clothes. He became known as the Pirate. No one knew where his parents were, and he never attended school, so he didn't speak very well. In fact, the only word he ever said was, "Yo-ho." Whenever he said it, people began singing, "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate's life for me!" Then they'd laugh and throw a few coins into his jar.
The kid did not respond as expected, however. Instead of expressing gratitude for their generosity, he became more and more frustrated, yelling, "YO-HO! YO-HO!" One day he totally lost it and attacked someone on the street. Then he was taken into custody. After years of therapy paid for by a wealthy benefactor, it was discovered that the only thing the poor chap wanted was a yo-yo, but he didn't know how to pronounce it.
Today we use "YOLO" before doing something crazy because poor little Pip yelled it one last time before beating a random passerby with a moldy sandwich.
3. Much ______. So ______. Very wow.
This one began when one of Miley Cyrus's best friends tried to start her own line of clothing. She originally got some funding because of her status as Miley's bestie. But when her fashion consultant tried to ask her about her vision for the clothing line, everything went downhill. She pushed her purple hair behind one ear and clear her throat. "I'm thinking, like, much artfully. And so sparkles. Just, like, very wow." Unfortunately, her command of the English language left something to be desired. But the fashion consultant wrote about the experience on her blog, popularizing the alterable saying and pairing it with a picture of her strangely expressive dog, which was only overly expressive because it had just tasted Taco Bell for the first time.
Perhaps the most commonly used in this list, cray has actually been around the longest. Back when the Pilgrims first landed in Eastern Kentucky, the untouched areas around the beautifully green rivers seemed to smell of promise. But when the settlers tried to harvest the gold they heard was hidden there, they instead encountered impossibly ginormous lobster-like creatures known only as crayfish. They were close to five feet long and absolutely vicious. When the brave first four settlers ventured too close to the river, the crayfish mercilessly devoured three of them, leaving the fourth one traumatized and only able to utter a single word: "cray."
That, my friends, is why people say "cray" when something is, like, totally out of control.
5. I can't even.
This term began as a simple way to express a complex process of mathematics used only in Scandinavian Derivatives. The Norwegians have invented an entire number system (known as Absolute Negation Rationalization) that operates without acknowledging the existence of "0," the only number that is neither even nor odd. Mathematicians use this phrase to explain to students the necessity to utilize that system.
Unfortunately, Americans have begun using it to explain utter shock, horror, or disbelief of various circumstances, usually resulting from a lack of better words to describe the gravity of the situation.
I hope this list was helpful to you. Especially if you had trouble connecting with the younger folks, this should make you feel really relevant. Who knows, one of the young chaps might be unaware of the origins of these handy phrases. Why not share one of these stories? You'll probably impress those Millennials with your extensive knowledge about what is hip and awesome.