Words, words, words — Excessive use of lax language may leave future employers unimpressed

Caitlin Holland, Editor-in-chief

“And I, like, you know, um.”

Word vomit.

It happens to all of us. We know what we want to say, but for some reason we just don’t know how to say it. We fill the uncomfortable silences with “likes” and “ums” and eventually lose track of what we were even saying in the first place.

What a disaster.

For me, it usually just happens when I have something really important to tell a friend — how hard the homework assignment from last night was or what insane thing Charlie Sheen said yesterday. Believe it or not, this articulate, impeccably refined columnist occasionally turns into the “Like, Oh my God,” girl you hear in the hallways. I’ll admit, I know I can sound like a complete middle school drama queen sometimes. It’s disgusting.

I’m not the only one.

“Like” and “you know” and “um” are pretty much staples in the teenage vocabulary. It really isn’t a problem when we interact with each other. We all suffer from the same vocabulary disease. We understand each other.

The problem exists when we try to communicate in a more formal, professional way. When we apply for jobs or speak with teachers, saying “like” 16 times becomes blatantly obvious. It becomes painful, in a way.

This is how it usually works for me: I’ll start talking to a teacher about an assignment and next thing I know every other word coming from my mouth is “like.” Then, I realize the travesty occurring and try to stop, but only proceed to turn a bright shade of red. Disaster.

Even worse: my mom is a speech therapist. Her entire career — her goal in life — is to make people stop saying “like” every two seconds. She has her work cut out for her with me.

She enjoys using her professional abilities to cure me of my teenage speak.

“Caitlin, explain to me how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without saying ‘like’ once,” is a sentence I hear at least twice a month.

I can officially say I know how to make PB&Js like a pro, because this has been going on for several years.

I never really thought about the importance of my mom’s job until I realized how many people suffer from the ‘like’ disease, or, something much more serious, stuttering.

After the movie The King’s Speech gained popularity in the states and eventually won Best Picture at the Oscars, stuttering and the affect it has on communication and self-esteem wasn’t something most people bothered to think about.

Golfer Tiger Woods. University of Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self. Vice President Joe Biden. Project Runway’s Tim Gunn.

Yep. All of them, current or former, stutterers.

Gunn, according to an ABC online article, credited his stuttering for making him an introverted, shy child.

Stuttering is a legitimate problem; one that affects so many of us whether we realize it or not.

Unfortunately, because my mom is a speech therapist, I definitely am aware of it.