I was standing in line at a coffee shop this morning when I heard a girl behind me say to her friend, "Yeah, I am totally obsessed with Breaking Bad." "Hmm, are you really obsessed with Breaking Bad?" I thought to myself, "Or do you just enjoy Breaking Bad?" Do you think about it constantly? Does it interfere with your ability to function? I am guessing no. Do you have a room in your house where you tear out newspaper clippings about the show and pin them methodically to the walls? Do you keep tiny specimens of Bryan Cranston's fingernail clippings in neatly organized jars on a shelf? Probably not. I mean, sure, you might like Breaking Bad. Maybe you even love it. And maybe you could even be called one of the shows biggest fans, but I feel like you are probably not actually obsessed with it.
Of course, I have heard this same confession of being obsessed (with whatever random thing) one zillion times before—from friends and enemies, strangers and BFFs, on Twitter and IRL, and even from my very own mouth—but for some reason this time it really caught in my ear. I guess I've been over our collective obsession with being obsessed for a while now, but lately I've reached some critical level of distaste for the phrase. (Yes, fine, I've become obsessed with hating obsession. Grrr.) And so I come to you with this heartfelt plea: Can we please, in the name of all that is good and holy about the English language, stop saying we're obsessed with every little thing?? Pretty please? I feel like we're better than this, like we can use our words to find a more accurate, less grandiose way to indicate our approval for something.
Let's start off by laying some ground rules: If you have single-mindedly devoted your whole life to tracking an obscure beetle through South America, or if you do nothing but wash your hands 24 hours a day, then you may rightly claim that you are, indeed, obsessed. But if you saw a pair of red pants online that you thought were cute and then, OMG, three days later you saw another pair of red pants that you kind of liked in this aaaahmazing boutique, you cannot claim to be obsessed with red pants. You could say you "like" or "have seen two nice pairs of" red pants, but you cannot say you are suffering from an actual mental condition brought on by your fixation with red pants.
Also, you cannot claim to be obsessed with peaches, gravlax, salty caramel, or any other food item, no matter how delicious and/or trendy it is, unless you eat said item at least 7 times per week. While we're at it, you cannot be obsessed with a famous person unless you maintain the internet's premier fanpage for them and/or live in their bushes. Finally, under this new system, which I hope we can all agree to adopt, you can't be obsessed with more than one thing at a time. So please choose wisely. And with that, let us all go back out into the world, and try to make it a more relaxed, less obsessive place.
Image via Aaron Amat/Shutterstock.