A Preface to You Got This

The phrase ‘You Got This’ can be stressed in several ways, including ‘You Got This’ and ‘You Got This‘. In the first case it may be used when, as the meme-collecting website Saying Images enquires, ‘(have you) Got some friends going through a rough time or know people who need an extra push? Reminding them of how strong and capable they really are can help them get over their current situation.’



Often Ryan Gosling will say this to you while in his vest (or sleeveless undershirt).

The second inflection of the phrase, ‘You Got This‘, carries the suggestion that you should stop complaining because you got this and it’s all you’re going to get.

It’s the second meaning that is examined below. It may well be that the slogan on the girl’s T shirt in Holloway Road alludes to the first meaning. I can’t tell.


You Got This – Part I

Ayoung girl walking along the Holloway Road with her mother is wearing a T shirt that carries the slogan ‘You Got This’. The slogan cancels all the other T shirts that bore a long-established complaint about the meanness of those who only handed over a lousy T shirt despite their return from an exotic location. If certain laws of physics and human biology were slightly modified then the manufacture of the ‘You Got This’ line would precipitate the instant discontinuance of all the T shirt lines that bore the initial complaint, in all its variations, globally. Although there is no suggestion in the slogan that You Getting This is in any way a satisfactory outcome for you, it does feel like the dialogue is over. You wanted something that you deserved? Now you’ve got it.

For a workaday encounter in the Holloway Road to effect such a comprehensive transformation, the fundaments of spacetime would have to be radically reconstituted, alongside a complementary remodelling of the human sensorium – a set of conditions in which it becomes possible for all the world’s phenomena to be experienced by everybody all of the time, in real time. In such conditions the open-ended complaint borne on the T shirts of hundreds of thousands of people would be resolved as soon as the first You Got This hit the street. In their multitudes wearers would turn to each other, not without a degree of weary resignation, and say ‘Right. We should move on now.’ Garment manufacturers would, of course, resist this shift but the Lousy T Shirt wearers would say to them ‘Hey! It’s over. We never got anything better than the lousy T shirt of yesteryear but we know, as you do, that a person in the world has received a riposte. One that is both credible and concrete. And this neutralises the whole scene.’ End of story.

You Got This – Part II

The whimsy apparent in Part I is all very well but it elides the cry for help that the original T shirt plaint articulates. The person who is, by implication, accused of failing to supply a pleasing gift or, at the very least, a T shirt that is not lousy, may be a parent, another family member, a spouse, a lover, a friend. These individuals, constituting the support team of the plaintiff and, by extension, representing, in this case, all human beings in the world, clearly, in the view of the plaintiff, do not love the latter enough. That this insufficiency could be assuaged by a more substantial gift or one that was not picked up at the airport does suggest that while the plaintiff seems to be generally relaxed about the translation from love to love token it may be the case that what they really want is the unalloyed love that everyone deserves. The T shirt is what they will settle for because you can’t always get what you want, especially if the want is profound, unwavering and painful to the point where it seems unreasonable, unwieldy, poignant, an ineffable yearning that may never go away until it is satisfied, which it never will be.

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