“Got” Is a Super Versatile Word

Or: English Is Weird and Also My Favorite Thing

Since I work in marketing, I have a tendency to avidly watch for interesting campaigns everywhere I go*. Magazine ads, billboards, commercials, graffiti…I’m always peeking at the ways commercialism is invading our lives.**
*This actually has nothing to do with the fact that I work in marketing, and everything to do with the fact that I have the attention span of a gnat.
**Hurray! Job security!

It’s everywhere, y’all.

So when I was driving around the Queen City (the QC if you’re hip, which clearly I am not, since I spell it out), it wasn’t really surprising that a billboard caught my eye.*** Specifically, THIS billboard:
***Distracted me into the horrifying realm of nightmarish possibilities.

This is a regrettable situation

Because having spiders is something people frequently ask others about.
Click for source and to rid your living space of spider infestations!


NO NO NO NO NO. Is that even a thing that can happen?!**** But that brings up the whole idea of context clues and English.
****Of course it is. And of course I Googled it to make sure. And of course I will never sleep again.

Take, for example, the Got Milk ads for comparison:

Everything is so...so...blue

Because who needs the sweet nourishment of Earth’s yellow sun when you can instead binge on milkshakes?!
Click for source.

Let’s break it down, here. “Got milk?” is asking if you’ve got something you may lack, something you desire.

“Hey, got milk?”
“Actually, no, but I DO have cookies and so now I really want some. Gimmie!”

But only because I've had cookies.

All things worth desiring are on fancy columns or pedestals. Is that not how your life works?

“Got spiders?” is asking you if you’ve somehow ended up in the exact situation frequently illustrated by my nightmares.

“Hey, got spiders?”


Science has taught me that if it can pop up in your most awful dreams, it’s probably also a real thing. So, flying spiders.

This applies to more things than actual ads. See if you can identify the positive usage and the negative usage!

“Got doubloons?”

I had to google how to spell doubloons, because words

Doubloon mountain is probably guarded by flying spiders.

“Got monsters?”

Grrrr. Arrrgh.

This is less scary than flying spiders.

I know, I know, this has been a very challenging quiz. But if you said the doubloon pile was the negative usage, you’re right! Because it’s guarded by flying spiders, which are more awful than monsters!

English. It’s all about the context.