Here is a conversation I heard just behind me on the bus trip home today:
"Like, how did you do on that algebra test?"
"Well, there should have been, like, a formula to explain that formula."
"I know! I was, like, 'Where was this in the review?' I'm like, 'That's unfair!'"
"I was like the same way. I, like, wanted to croak!"
These two intelligent young ladies did not speak a single sentence without saying "like" at least once. I love language and language usage. Once I got over my horror of the conversation, I tried to figure out how this "likeness" came to be. It certainly wasn't the first time my ears had thusly been assaulted. There was a species that lived in my house who talked that way (daughterius brookus).
I'm not having much luck figuring it out. Apparently, the Valley girls on the west coast started it. I wanted to turn around to these girls and say, "Why not just say 'I wanted to croak?' instead of 'I, like, wanted to croak.'" But since I'm over 40 years older than they, it would be an exercise in futility. They don't know I'm a closet linguist. They think I'm, like, just a bus driver.