Jug-eared master of the tap-in goal and Mexico ’86 World Cup Golden Boot winner Gary Lineker has set Twitter alight thanks to his use of the terminology “sick” to describe the fixture between England and Sweden. Despite living in a world that has made us blasé to such miracles as space travel, stem cell therapy and the I-pad, it seems the sight of a 51 year old man using a bit of teen lingo is too much for the online population to swallow.
Quite right too – a man of that age really ought to know better.
If you look for the word ‘sick’ in the dictionary, you will find the official definition is something along the lines of ‘afflicted with ill health or disease’. There are other interpretations too, which mention phrases such as ‘mentally, morally or emotionally deranged’, ‘inclined to vomit’ and ‘deeply affected with some unpleasant feeling’. There is nothing in there to hint that any situation necessitating its use will be anything other than a wearisome burden on your day.
Yet when placed in the hands of ‘yoof’, exactly the opposite applies. A situation deemed to be ‘sick’ is one that is crazy, insane, wicked, choice, cool or simply sweet as, bro. While this is may appear strange and confusing, it can actually be explained away very easily; young people are just not right in the head. Although before you start hunting out your soapboxes from which to harangue me, this is not just another uniformed swipe at the much maligned youngsters of today – this is the voice of experience. I used to be a youth myself and as far as I can remember I was as dumb as a post.
My idea of fashion was wearing not much more than a pair of plaid beach pants, which I rather elegantly teamed up with bleached blonde hair (although occasionally red or blue) and lamb chop sideburns that would shame Noddy Holder. So I looked like a complete tit. And my idea of a quiet night out involved drinking my own body weight in alcohol to the backdrop of music by the Shamen. This meant that not only did I look like a moron, but I also sounded like one and spent a large portion of the time acting like a very, very drunken one.
But it was in sober moments that my circle of friends and I produced our most dazzling moments of dullness – we went out and bought cars. No self respecting teenager should ever have a monumental motoring budget, but even with the miserable financial resources at our disposal, we bought some absolute rotters. The dregs of motoring society – Metro, Allegro, Favorit, Beetle, Sunny, 126, AX – adorned our driveways as we cocked a snook at the desire of society for better cars.
But there was one that always eluded us: Lada. And although time has brought with it nose hair and three day hangovers, I’ve never quite managed to shake the desire for some Communist motoring in my life. So when a fine looking example of their Niva 4×4 showed up on Trademe this week, I was unable to stem the flow of juices from my temptation gland and took the beast for a test drive.
It was shocking. By the time I’d negotiated the driveway and made it to the end of the street, my biceps were burning from the effort of turning the steering wheel and my ears were bleeding from the cacophony coming from under the bonnet. Each pothole lined up a fresh set of osteopathic treatment and an attempt to negotiate a roundabout required so much effort that I developed a nosebleed.
After barely 3 kilometres I knew I had to give up and head back before I did myself some permanent damage, but because I was so grateful to have worked the Dickensian transmission into any form of gear – 2nd as it turned out – I simply left it there, so even this short journey took about a week.
There will still be something effortlessly cool in the utter awfulness of the Lada – and all of equally crappy motors that I coveted in my youth – but it seems that with the experience of years I have developed enough common sense and physical frailty to recognise when the cons far, far outweigh the pros. And while it is mildly reassuring to know that I’ve developed into a mature, well-rounded human being who is capable of separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to cars, the knowledge that the dumb enthusiasm of youth is gone forever leaves me feeling, well, sick.