YOLO: the rampant release of youthful vocabulary over YouTube

By Erin Fogerty

The world has Drake to thank for turning YOLO into one of the most overused phrases of 2012. “You only live once” is Drake’s motto and he made it very clear that he is about it “every day, every day, every day.”

The phrase YOLO has become our generation’s carpe diem and is used at times when one takes risks and lives his or her life to the fullest. But, if there is only one shot at life, why risk it? The fact that you only live once is not an excuse to jump off a roof, drink or do an insane amount of drugs or gamble away all of your money in Vegas. If you only live once shouldn’t you be avoiding any life threatening situations? Saying or ‘hashtagging’ YOLO should not justify any dumb or dangerous behavior.

Teenagers and young adults are incorrectly and overusing this acronym in their Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram comments and daily conversations. For example, saying that you are skipping class does not need to be followed by #YOLO. And saying that you cheated on your girlfriend six times should never be followed by YOLO. When searching for #YOLO on Twitter, results will yield more yolo proclamations that make no sense such as “Didn’t put the seat down after I peed, #YOLO.”

The use of YOLO has gotten out of control and Saturday Night Live decided to address the ridiculousness of this phrase last weekend. Host Adam Levine paired up with The Lonely Island, the comedy troupe who made the viral video “Lazy Sunday” and musical guest rapper Kendrick Lamar in a YOLO digital short. When Adam Samberg left SNL in May 2012, many fans feared that The Lonely Island would never return. But, last Saturday The Lonely Island was back to remind us to be careful since we only live once. This digital short marked the first of the season and has quickly gained in popularity hits on YouTube.
The digital short begins with Adam Levine’s unmistakable voice introducing the chorus.

“You know that we are still young so don’t be dumb, don’t trust anyone ‘cause you only live once.”

The video verges on pronouncing itself as Maroon 5’s latest single, but then Adam Samberg appears in a tuxedo and stunner shades as a reminder that this is a joke. The men present extreme safety precautions that we all should take seriously since we only live once. As the song progresses, the paranoid advice gets more and more ridiculous. Toward the end of the song, everyone is wearing straitjackets and hiding in a safe house.

“Wear a straitjacket so you’re safe from yourself.”

Kendrick Lamar appears in the video for about twenty seconds to give some responsible financial advice about the real estate market.

We should never live a life governed by fear, but The Lonely Island crew reminds us that life is a precious gift and that getting wild and crazy is not worth the risk.

The cautionary anthem, although turning into extreme paranoia, was just asking us to be more “carefolo” and live as devoid of risks as possible.

“You only live once so don’t let it go to waste,” Samberg said.