In the 2017 movie “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” a pretty, self-obsessed, high-school cheerleader named Bethany gets trapped along with three of her classmates in a video game in which, if they lose, they die.
That’s bad enough, but it gets worse for Bethany. Not only is she completely out of her element in the jungle, but she also happens to be stuck in the body of Jack Black. This is the source of much comedy, as seeing the often-hilarious Black act like a teenage girl for roughly 90 minutes is, as it turns out, brilliant casting.
At one point fairly early on, Bethany (who in the game has the avatar of Professor Shelly Overon — with Shelly being short for Sheldon, which is unbeknownst to Bethany when she chooses her character) is still struggling to reckon with her new environment and physical form. In perfect diva mode, Jack Black/Bethany complains, “I can’t even with this place.”
As the parent of a teenage daughter, I’ve heard a very similar “I can’t even” tone on multiple occasions. Grace is an awesome young woman who I love dearly, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t occasional challenges. Let’s just say it’s neither unremarkable nor unusual for Grace to have trouble “even-ing” with some element of her life.
Still, she perseveres, and not knowing at all what it’s like to be a teenage girl, I guess that’s all I can ask for. But maybe I’m just a tad greedy, as there’s something else I’ve asked for but have yet to receive. It’s a small wish, really, but probably next to impossible when a habit is so ingrained that saying one simple word is totally second-nature.
Parents, have any of your children referred to you as “bruh”?
For those unaware, I refer to the website knowyourmeme.com for this definition: “‘Bruh’ is a popular variant of the slang term “bro” that is often used as an interjection to convey frustration or disappointment at something.” Well, I guess that explains Grace’s frequent use of the term. I guess she just can’t even with this place.
Not surprisingly, Grace’s friends often get called “bruh,” regardless of just how frustrated or disappointed she is with them. (It seems to be said in a “just kidding” way.) Zach also gets the “bruh” treatment a lot, though I imagine the frustration and disappointment he provokes in his older sister is often genuine. And as for Mom and Dad, let’s just say we’ve been “bruh-d” a few times as well, and probably tolerate it slightly more on some days as opposed to others. That is to say, sometimes we don’t like it and sometimes we abhor it.
Though I’ve been careful to not add “bruh” to my out-loud vocabulary, I’ve still (sadly) found myself saying it in my head or muttering it quietly on occasion. This often happens while driving and the person in front of me is going at the approximate speed of a snail. I’ve also caught myself “bruh-ing” when scrolling through Facebook and coming across political content that’s either flat-out dishonest, outrageous or ill-informed. There seems to be a lot of that these days, unfortunately, yet for some reason my eyes deal with it like a rubbernecker at a crash site. I just can’t look away, and too much of it can easily diminish my overall quality of life.
“I can’t even, bruh” just about sums things up perfectly if I’m looking at social media or the national news too long. My goal is to try to tune out as much nonsense as I can while still being reasonably informed, but that likely won’t be an easy task. What might be simpler? Family games or movie nights, or fun outdoors. Reading a good book. Binge-watching something either funny or mindless, or both. Meditation and/or prayer.
I can even. You — all you non-bruhs out there — can, too.