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Ever heard a phrase that made you absolutely cringe inside? The most obvious offender this week was “Asante Samuel signs with Eagles,” but there are far more. Think of anything that Howard Stern says, most of what President Bush says, some of what your parents say, and a little of what your “over-sharing” friends say. Here, for your reading pleasure, is a list of the phrases that have come up in conversations in the past seven days that I really wish hadn’t. If you have ever used these phrases, please, please, PLEASE never say them again.

Wintry mix

By itself, snow is cool, literally and figuratively. It’s gorgeous when draped over trees, and it makes football infinitely better.

By itself, rain is nifty too. It’s refreshing on a hot summer day, and it delights desert dwellers and gardeners alike.

Together, however, rain + snow = unfortunate circumstances. Car accidents, nasty spills, and soggy, slushy shoes are just three of a litany of complaints. And that’s before mentioning the dreary, gray characteristic of the sky.

Even worse, “wintry mix” seems to be the favorite cop-out of meteorologists everywhere. Rather than guess at the type of precipitation, meteorologists settle for the easy way out: a catchall term. How is our society supposed to preach accountability if our weather men and weather women aren’t held to the same standards?

Can we talk?/We need to talk

From a brief, completely unscientific, and absolutely not random survey of guys I know, there is no combination of words that strikes more fear into their hearts. “Can we talk?” engenders terror akin to the wrath of God. Really, when was the last time you said one of these phrases, only to be greeted with a chipper smile and a cheery comment?

Apparently, the scary part is that there is no indication as to the topic of conversation — “talking” can be about anything from a book to a breakup. And talking can involve the dreaded F-word — feelings. In fact, I’m growing more terrified of talking to people as I write this … so don’t take it personally if I choose to deal with everything like a fifth-grader: either over e-mail or by passing notes.

Just for kicks, if you want to completely freak someone out, throw those words out and then casually glance up at his or her face (but particularly his). This works far better if you have some way of digitally recording said expression. As for what you’re going to talk about, you can always make it #5 of that problem set you’re working on. Did you get 0.48 too?

Chill out

Could there be a less effective way of telling a person to relax? “Chill out” is one of those phrases that immediately puts the (pick one: stressed, busy, overwhelmed, productive … ) person on the defensive. Do you really expect someone to say, “Why yes, I agree. I am stressed and I should take a break. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!” rather than, “Why the hell won’t you leave me alone?” Yeah, not so much.

In fact, I’m becoming stressed out just thinking about people trying to tell me to relax. Why the hell won’t you leave me alone?

Be nice/If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all

Clearly, the person who said this has never taken part in DAT (Designated Asshole Time), more commonly known as time set aside daily for making fun of people. While I do not advocate slander or libel (at least, not in writing — avoiding lawsuits would be ideal), there is something intrinsically healthy about teasing people for absolutely no reason. It’s on par with running to clear your mind — excellent stress relief. (Thus eliminating the need for people to tell you to chill out … )

The anti-Federalists were right about one thing: freedom of speech all the way, buddy.

Dude, let’s play StarCraft

Addiction. It’s a scary thing, right? Gambling, drugs, alcohol … and somewhere along the line is StarCraft. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy video games as much as the next person (Halo 3!), but not quite enough to watch replays of games. For the sake of anonymity (and to avoid the wrath of Battle.net users everywhere), I’ll refrain from naming names. But when you can safely assume that your friends are either in class, at the gym, or playing StarCraft, you know there’s something wrong with that picture. As every support group says, the first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem.

I will now return to my regularly scheduled program of DAT, this time directed toward the StarCraft players I know. Pass me that cup of coffee, please. Yeah, it’s my fifth one today — what do you mean, I’m a caffeine addict?

Quit being emo

Emo is rapidly becoming one of the most overused — and obnoxious — phrases among college students, particularly when used in conjunction with “quit” and “being.” (I will pause to let the irony of the “Rants and Raves” introduction sink in.) Apparently, it is no longer okay to be upset over something; and God forbid if someone asks you if everything’s okay and you actually say no. Just as long as you don’t start wearing skinny jeans and carrying around a feelings journal (unless it’s for a psychology class — hello, 9.68), who’s to tell you what you should be feeling?

Unless, of course, you insist on blasting Lifehouse or Fall Out Boy at all hours of the day. In that case, quit being emo and give the rest of us some peace and quiet.