How You Use the Word “Sick” Will Reveal Your Age

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Picture depicting a single woman's face at three different ages from young to elderly

CAMBRIDGE – New evidence from a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests that how one uses the word “sick” reveals his or her age. The test, which asked participants to use “sick” in three different sentences, is now considered one of the most accurate and reliable predictors of age we have. “It’s like cutting down a tree and counting the rings, but for humans,” proclaimed MIT researcher Roger Hiddleston.

According to Hiddleston, volunteers of the study could be divided into three unique age categories: “Millennials”, “GenX”, and “Old.” Milllenials on the whole see the word “sick” as positive, and often use the term as a synonym for “awesome” or “cool.” Examples from the study of Millennial use of the word “sick” include: “those beats are sick!”, “those Pokémon I caught yesterday while holding up traffic were sick!” and “the ways in which my peers identify and control their micro-aggressions towards marginalized groups of people is sick!”

GenXers, on the other hand, saw the term “sick” as a substitute for “nasty” or “gross.” Examples from the study of GenX use of the word “sick” include, “that mangled road kill is sick!”, “that death scene in the new Quentin Tarantino movie was sick!”, and “the disgusting way in which corporate institutions have corrupted the political process for their own gain is sick!”

According to Hiddleston, the “Old” age group stretches back to the baby boomers, the silent generation, and “god knows when.” The “Old” people associate “sick” with the qualities of being “insane” or “twisted.” Examples from the study of “Old” people using the word “sick” include, ”Charles Manson was sick!”, “these liberal types trying to take away my guns are sick!”, and “these darn kids playing their hippidy hop music and ruining our bridge club meeting are sick!”

Hiddleston sees these studies as ultimately positive.” Not to reveal my age or anything, but I definitely don’t see the results from this survey as ‘sick’…although some might say that the dollar amount put into this study is ‘sick’, or that the ethical steps we as researchers took during the experiments were ‘sick.’ Now, what am I talking about? I guess that depends on how old you are.”