I am fascinated by language. I think it’s a safe bet to say that most writers are. Language is a living, ever changing thing that reflects the constant evolution of our culture. Recently, a new phrase has entered our collective vocabulary with which I have become quite taken. I have heard friends and co-workers use it, made note of it popping up on television as part of a scripted dialogue, read it on Facebook (naturally) and overheard it being used on the street.
I get it. I think it’s funny and at times the perfect thing to say… almost like putting a period at the end of a sentence after something has… well… happened. I am confident that I could use it appropriately in a situation and maybe even garner a few laughs. But, given my affinity for words, I was still curious about its true, intended meaning. Therefore, I consulted with what else but the Urban Dictionary to see if it could shed any more light on this new addition to our current pop-culture vernacular.
The Urban Dictionary defines “Well, That Happened” as: A phrase used when something random and/or inexplicable has occurred. It serves as both an invitation to discuss the recent incident or a way to cut off a possible conversation about the incident.
You witness your naked neighbor being chased by a dog. Suddenly he is hit by a car, leaving him sprawled in the intersection while the dog licks him.
You: “Well that happened.”
Your Friend: “Yup.”
There are also some variations of this form of language that I wish to explore with some examples of my own such as: “This happened” if you are standing in the immediate presence of something interesting, peculiar or random.
Out of sheer anger and frustration you take a hammer and smash your wireless mouse to bits, scattering shards of grey plastic and particles of circuitry all over the crime scene. See Of Mice and Hammers for more details on this specific example.
You: “So… This happened.”
Your Friend: “Yup.”
Or… “There’s this” as a way of showing someone something that you find cannot be explained any other way or you just don’t feel like saying any more about it.
Your friend discovers a photo taken of you during middle school and posts it on Facebook for the world to see. You’re standing with about 3 other friends sporting giant 90’s hair, oversized bomber (or denim) jackets worn atop horrid cable-knit sweaters, turtlenecks and acid-washed-mom-jeans… New Kids On The Block concert tickets in hand.
Photo caption: “And… There’s this.”
All Your Facebook Friends: “Uproarious laughter and comments galore”