5 Words I Know (That My Kids Know I Shouldn’t Know)

photo credit: Thorsten-Koch Stormtrooper in Vienna via photopin (license)

Here’s the thing – I don’t know what a story is.

It’s on Instagram and SnapChat. Right? Maybe What’sApp, but that’s less likely. Anyway, I know it’s like a place where people can, I don’t know, write something like a blog post? It’s kind of a big deal, I gather. Yet, no, I don’t know its parameters.

That’s okay – I’m 45 after all.

Like the Washington Redskins, I sometimes get lucky, with the terminology. I coach teenagers and work with millennials. The most awkward thing I can think of this side of Elizabeth Banks reading my mind would be to appear to try to be acting young.

I’m not young.

My generation kind of invented the Internet, you know, and if it weren’t for us, we wouldn’t have things to swipe on our phones or have carvana or even ubers. You’re welcome. Pretty such you can thank us for Neflix, too, because Blockbuster.

But I digress.

What can happen to a Wordsanchez

Being a guy who works with words, my vocabulary grows all the time. Sure, I can add words like abjure and abrogate, but also some more contemporary. It can happen. I recently shocked one of my children by my very existence on Instagram.

Since when is our father on Instagram? She asked upon reading a comment on her sister’s post.

Since a lot time, her sister answered.

And that’s what led to the first term I used that shocked and amazed her.


When this particular daughter came to terms with me on Instagram, she didn’t share her sister’s acceptance. Oh, the youngest. She immediately connected with me and loves my pics. (Doesn’t hurt that she’s in most of them.)

“I’ll never follow you,” her sister said, in a defiant yet sweet way.

If there was any doubt, I doused it when I used the term Insta in her presence. It stung her, but not in a fatal way. In a way to show dad’s gray, not dead. (Good thing I didn’t call it the ‘gram.)


This isn’t the first term I must credit my former boss for teaching me. I wouldn’t normally use, like … hella. Or hella tight. I’m 45 years old, after all. I should be saying stuff like rad or outta sight. (Okay, maybe that one is from my dad’s time.)

En flique is what I mean, and it’s something good. We even have T-shirts for writers at Red Ventures that say “RV Writers En Flique.” Although I’m fairly certain the moment I wore the shirt, it (and I) became immediately *not* en flique.


This is one I earned. Kind of. My boss – the same cool one from before – said I was Trill AF because I decided to cap a challenging day with a Red Baron pizza and a 40. Only, the 40 was only 25 ounces, and it took me more than one sitting.


Trill is the love child of “true” and “real,” and isn’t that what we all want to be? Even when (especially when?) we feel anything but. I even wrote about it.


No, not the Air Force. Somehow, like the sandwich generation which probably was the generation that began using BS for bullshit, AF is a sneaky way to sneak in an F-bomb without some people who don’t know what AF stands for knowing it.

And that’s Trill AF, you know?

My most common usages come when I reference how Zen I feel. Zen AF, even. I told my yoga instructor friend I felt Zen AF after a yoga sesh (I can say that) and she sent me an image of a T-shirt.

It said “Zen AF,” which I’m sure the Dalai Lama and John Lennon would love.


No, not the 90s band or even a reference to excessive drinking. Lit’s another one in my arsenal that won’t get lofted into battle. Like, ever. I’d sooner order from a kids’ menu. Lit, though, is cool. I can’t wait for kids to stop using it so we old people can.

Lit is like, cool. That’s what it means, right?

Oh hell. This should be the final term I define in this post. I’ve literally left a literary mess of things in my wake, like that dumb kid who tromps all over the new-fallen snow in your yard before you can get your ass out there and build a snowman.

Put that on your story. Or in it. Whatever.



  1. My goal is to ruin SnapChat. My youngest daughter informs me I am well on my way. At least, I’m ruining it for her.
    The Strand bookstore in NY sells shirts that say, “GET LIT.”

    1. You’d become a legend, Ross. Never let it be said that a father is a mere figurehead. We can inflict damage on the order of our rudderless youth, if we put our mind to it.

      A “GET LIT” T-shirt on this dad’s back might incite a peasant’s revolt in my family! More reason.

  2. Thank you for this post. Now I don’t have to go google these when my lifeguards use them.
    Or you know, scratch my head and ask them.

    On the flip side, I’ve been teaching them fantastic words such as “trollop”, “balligan”, and “sard”.

    1. You’re welcome for this post, Court. You’re well-informed for pool season. Do they give you the 4-1-1 when you ask? You’re like an ambassador of words across the generations with that!

  3. I knew three of them, because I’m young AF. Ok, not really.
    I remember when my mom joined Facebook and my sister said, “That’s so embarrassing! I won’t friend you.”
    Well, she did!

    1. You’re just a pup, Janine – if you feel old, I must be downright prehistoric! I’m okay with that. Youthful vocab isn’t exactly the thing of intellectuals, as you can see, so you’re good, way good.

  4. Although at some points this post almost read like a foreign language you have taught me a lot and I’m very thankful you did. I can not finally talk to my now teenage son… It’s lit AF! 😉

    1. Thanks! There’s good stuff around at Sandra’s, isn’t there? Look forward to checking out your stuff (I already looked at that infographic you reblogged on words to eliminate from your writing – brilliant!)

  5. I loved this post! You crack me up! I love your sense of humor Eli! It’s funny your one daughter won’t follow your Insta. Tell I say “Poor Papa”! Hugz Lisa and Bear

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