Where have all those great phrases gone?

Published 10:49 am Friday, January 12, 2018

I have a friend named Hollis who resides down in Pensacola. He regularly sends me columns that he composes and they stimulate a lot of thought. Rather than rewriting his thoughts referencing our aging population’s vocabulary, with his written permission, I am plagiarizing his amusing rendition of outdated descriptive words.

Do you remember the word murgatroyd? Would you believe the email checker did not recognize it? HEAVENS TO MURGATROYD! Lost words from our childhood are gone as fast as the buggy whip. Sad really! The other day a not-so-old elderly lady (65 but I say 75) said something to her son about driving a jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said, “What the heck is a jalopy?” O.M.G. (new phrase)! He never heard of the word jalopy! She knew she was old but not that old.

Welly, I hope you are hunky dory after you read this and chuckle. About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases include Don’t Touch That Dial, Carbon Copy, You Sound Like A Broken Record and Hung Out To Dry.

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Back in the old days, we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker in order to straighten up and fly right. We would say Heavens to Betsy, Gee Wilikers, Jumping Jehoshaphat, and Holy Moley. We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop, or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the old days, life used to be swell, but when was the last time everything was swell? Swell has gone the ways of beehives, pageboys, spats, knickers, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. And don’t forget saddle stitched pants. Oh my aching back! Kilroy was here but where did he go?

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap and before we say, “Well I be a monkey’s uncle!” or “This is a fine kettle of fish!” we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues, our pens and our keyboards. Poof, go the words of our youth. And the words that we’ve left behind. We blink and they are gone!

Where have all those great phrases gone? My favorite is “Let’s All Go To The Beach Saturday.” Also, long gone are Pshaw, The Milkman Did It, Hey, It’s Your Nickel, Don’t Forget To Pull The Chain, Knee High To A Grasshopper, Well, Fiddlesticks, Going Like Sixty, I’ll See You In The Funny Papers and Don’t Take any Wooden Nickels. and Wake Up and Smell the Roses! As it turns out, there are more lost words and expressions than Carter’s Has Liver Pills. This can be disturbing stuff and Carter Liver Pills no longer exist.

We of a certain age have been blessed to have lived in changeable times. For a child. each new word is like a shiny toy – a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more except in our collective memory. It is one of the greatest advantages of aging. Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth. See ya later alligator! Okey Dokey! We are the children of the fabulous 50’s and no one will ever have that opportunity again. WE WERE GIVEN ONE OF OUR MOST PRECIOUS GIFTS – OUR MEMORIES!

Thanks for sharing some of your memories with us, Hollis!