My husband tells me I have a lot of pet peeves. I cannot stand the sound of a person tearing something out of carpet, clicking silverware on their teeth, or picking at their fingernails. The smell of my husband baking coconut shrimp makes me want to gag. My neighbor who lets his truck idle for what seems like hours at a time can nearly drive me to tear out my hair.
There is one pet peeve that trumps the rest, though: the word “literally” used by a person who does not understand its meaning. Let me give you some examples.
“The sun literally burned me to a crisp.” You don’t look like a charred heap of ash to me.
“It was so cold outside that I literally froze to death.” You realize you’re living, breathing, and talking to me now, right?
“I literally have nothing to wear.” And yet, you’re dressed.
“That girl was literally talking my ear off.” Really?
So I’ve decided to start using the word “figuratively” to see if anyone notices. I plan to throw, “I am figuratively starving to death” into the conversation the next time I’m hungry and waiting for my food at a restaurant.
Or… “I’m so confused that I feel like my head is figuratively about to explode!”
How about… “I have to figuratively walk on eggshells around him!”
At any rate, I think it might be a fun way to get over my pet peeve. In the meantime, though, here’s a fair warning. If I suddenly flick you in the forehead during our conversation, it may be because you figuratively drove me insane with your use of “literally.”