“You only live once, that’s the motto, n—- — YOLO.” That line from the popular rap song “The Motto” by Drake is the motto of this generation. It also happens to be the best excuse to do all the things common sense tells you not to do. All you have to do is call out “YOLO” right before you do it, and everything will be OK. We know this because Drake signed a contract reassuring your well-being and taking all financial responsibility for your hospital bills.
If you’re going to do something stupid for the sake of YOLO, you need to post it on a social networking site. Otherwise, it’s just seen as you being stupid. You need to yell out “YOLO” so other people can hear it, or it doesn’t count. Try doing something dangerous and call out “YOLO” when no one else is around. It just won’t feel the same. It’s like the age-old question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If you yell “YOLO” and jump from a tree in the forest with no one around to hear it, your doctor will know by the x-rays that you made a sound — the sound of your leg snapping in half, not “YOLO.”
Thanks to YOLO, all the things you wanted to do but knew were bad ideas — such as back-flipping off your garage roof, procrastinating on your midterm paper, taking that last shot before blacking out or getting that Mike Tyson face tattoo at beach week— are now all completely justified and encouraged. When I say encouraged, I mean by Drake and all of your other college friends screaming, “YOLO!” in your ear as you’re being carried away in the ambulance — not by your parents, who want you to have a successful future as a productive member of society. But who needs a job, anyway? Mike Tyson’s face tattoo is so much cooler!
YOLO could just as easily stand for, “You Obviously Lack Originality.” I don’t think Drake realized the phrase, “You only live once,” has been around forever. I guess the original phrase sounded too philosophical and wordy. He needed a shorter, catchier way to market stupidity. So he put it in a rap song, and the phrase took off.
If we marketed ideas such as voting, fiscal responsibility and generosity in rap songs, we could probably reduce the national deficit. However, fiscal responsibility would also defeat the purpose of YOLO. So I guess that’s out of the picture until you can no longer afford to subscribe to YOLO, considering you won’t have a 401K plan or a job.
When you think about it, the phrase is counterproductive. But then again, thinking about it first would also be counterproductive. The motto basically says you only have one life, so go jump off a bridge and get yourself killed. Somehow, admitting your own mortality makes it more enticing to do dangerous things. If you said something like “YHALOL,” meaning, “you have a lot of lives,” then it would totally make sense — if you were a cat.
— Cooper D’Anton is a freshman government and politics major and student blogger for The Diamondback