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I groggily opened the screen door and entered the house, grateful to have the oppressive sun literally beating on my back cease; between punches I realized how much it hurt. I threw my backpack on the recliner, and just as I was about to literally melt into the seat, I maintained homeostasis and heard a commotion from the kitchen.
“What is all of that noise...?” I lifted my arm over my shoulder and scratched my head, whilst stifling a yawn. The scene in front of me abruptly foreclosed all of the dreariness I had.
“Shawn...what are you DOING?” My brother was bent over the bottom drawer of the fridge, desperately yanking at something.
“I am SO hungry I could literally eat a horse!” Shawn dragged his desired object from the fridge and glared, saliva dripping from his mouth. The horse lay next to him, seemingly unaffected. Shawn stretched to open the silverware drawer and grab a fork and knife.
“Uh....” I quickly turned into the living room, searching for any other witnesses to this incredulous situation. I heard my younger sister cackling from her bedroom, and I literally climbed the steps to reach her, almost getting my foot caught in one of the balusters. As I burst through her doorway, I can sense something is not right.
“Grace? Are you OK?” She was on the phone with presumably her boyfriend. Her face was red and purple and strained, and tears streamed down her face. She was holding her stomach with one hand and her phone with the other. She glanced up at me with a huge grin on her face. She was laughing like I have never heard before.
“Oh my gosh..I'm literally dying of laughter!” Grace started to cough between laughs, and her breathing became rapid. I began to panic and I ran to my parents' room. My father was yelling at my mom, and just from the look of her she was really, really, angry.
“UGH! You are unbelievable! Why do you keep doing this?? I am literally so done right now!” As my mom shouted this to my father, a thermometer protruded from her hip to confirm that she was in fact, done. My father defended himself with a look of confusion and distraught.
“Honey, I'm sorry! I literally can't think of anything I did wrong!” his halo glowed brightly from atop his head, as he crumpled to the ground from his lack of ability to produce cognitive thought. My mom, however, looked like she was literally about to burst. She was shoveling dynamite stick after stick into her mouth, who knows when it could happen. Everything was so confusing, I literally couldn't wrap my head around it. Shawn says that I have a big head, but Mom scolds him and says it's not that big. Oh no. I just remembered about Shawn and his weird horse, and literally flew down the stairs before it was too late. I didn't realize how fast I was going, and I almost crashed into the grandfather clock next to the kitchen entryway. Well, that's as good of a landing as I can get. I brushed myself off, but I stopped myself from entering the kitchen and covered my mouth with my hands. There were First-Responders in the kitchen, lifting my brother up onto a gurney. He dribbled and slurred his speech, and I could barely make out what he was saying.
“I literally...can't eat...another bite...” Shawn managed to slur before he was rendered unconscious. One of the EMTs looked at me as they were strapping him down and reassuringly said,
“Don't worry ma'am. We are going to pump his stomach out. You can meet us at the hospital.” I held my head in disbelief. What's going on, here? I literally can't even-
I awoke with a start, sweat rolling down my back, my night light illuminating the room. It was a dream. Thank goodness. I don't know how I could deal with a world where “literally” actually meant “literally”.
Too many people use the word “literally” in place of “metaphorically”, “honestly”, or “actually”. This has been a trend for decades, and hyperboles are certainly not new to our society. Yet, this term seems to be on the rise as drama is becoming alluring on social media. The word can be easily substituted for something proper and appropriate. Some people don't even realize they are using the term incorrectly, or even at all. If someone says to you that they are literally dying of laughter, and you respond with a request to call an ambulance, they will look at you like you're the one who is exaggerating. The word “literally” is almost at the point where the old definition is getting lost, and engraved over with a new one. Before you speak with literal excitement, stop and think about what you're going to say. Is your head literally about to explode from your headache? Did you literally jump out of your skin, you were so scared? Be careful what you wish for.