“Never” is a self-absorbed bastard who hangs around our vocabulary doing nothing except making trouble. Sure, every once in a while it might bestir itself to state the obvious like “I’ve ‘never’ been to Papua New Guinea,” but in general, it spends its days sittin’ on its ass. You see “never” hardly ever (notice how I did that) comes up in ordinary conversation. It thinks it’s too important for that pedestrian activity. The only time “never” goes into action is when somebody’s jumped into the deep end of their ego pool and clearly can’t swim. Then, and only then, “never” turns into this verbal ninja, dishing out the hyperbole like it’s Chuck Norris and turning every discussion into the War Of The Words. Let me show you what I mean.
We use “never” when we’re pissed off —
“You never really loved me.”
Wow, that’s a big statement which pretty much throws 20 years of marriage, two kids and a mortgage under the bus. Is it true? Probably not. It’s just “never” showing off and trying to make things difficult for the other guy. What this actually means is “In recent history, you’ve been a dick. You need to clean up your act, buddy.” Unfortunately, “never” just turned that into the Shootout at the O.K. Corral.
We use “never” when we’re feeling sorry for ourselves.
“I never get anything.”
Clearly, this isn’t the case or we’d be twiddling our thumbs at the corner of Starvation and Depravity in beautiful downtown Mogadishu. This is just “never” allowing us to indulge ourselves in an overdose of 1st World Problems. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we got it rough! We didn’t notice Netflix doesn’t have Season #3 of our current TV binge and we’ve already put the self-buttered popcorn in the microwave. Oh, woe is me!
We use “never” to trot out the self congrats
“I never eat junk food.” “I never gossip.” “I never have drama.” “I never look at Social Media.”
Hold it right there! This is the 21st century: we live on this stuff. This is “never” adding a few gratuitous strokes to our already plus-size egos. If — by some miracle — any of us even knows someone who’s never (not ever) done any of these things (not even one of them) we’re probably Tibetan monks living in a cave.
And if that’s the case, what the hell are you doing reading this on the Internet?