Just as the cost of living continues to increase, the power of certain words inevitably diminishes. One such word is awesome. You used to be able to convey something uniquely grand with it; now it is reduced to being a slang word reserved for one's rating of a grilled cheese sandwich. Another such word is great. No longer does it mean what it once did, as exemplified by this oft-heard figure of speech:
"If you could ________, that would be great."
In these kinds of ordinary requests, it is insufficient to simply say, "May we have some more mustard?" or "Could you take another look at my radiator fluid?" No, when it comes to getting what we want, we now resort to unnecessarily obsequious bribery, as if adding a second roll of stamps to our order will be in the same league as discovering the cure for lupus. "Really?" I want to exclaim. "It would be great if I got you a new fork? Wow! I always thought my meager fetching and carrying were just routine tasks. And now I know I'm great! Maybe I can be president someday!"
Judging by how fast our language changes, it is only a matter of time before we begin to hear the following:
"If you could email me the recipe, that would be worthy of a Pulitzer."
"If you would grab us some napkins, I believe humans of whatever gender you are attracted to will strip themselves naked and beg you to have sex with them."
"Stop fantasizing about single-handedly locating the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. If you could make sure we have fresh towels, your act will impress me far beyond the act of bringing down the world's most notorious convict."