CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 5, 2018: From time to time Baby Boomers find Facebook posts asking “Do you remember what this is.” Or “Do you know how to use this”? Those archaic idioms that confuse our younger generations. Now everyday brings new memes and emails recalling the “Good old days.” Simpler days when milk was left on the front doorstep. Or when the ice cream truck came through the neighborhood with its familiar ring letting us know there was cool relief on its way.
Then there was the joy in chasing lightning bugs. That would keep us busy for an entire evening.
Upon reflection, there are so many of things we can recall from the days of our youth we often feel a sense of sadness that our own children missed so much of what was once such an important part of Americana.
The technology tidal wave
Technology has moved so rapidly through our lives in recent years that fax machines, pagers, and Blackberrys, for example, had an amazingly short lifespan.
Typewriters, which were such an integral part of business life, are as obsolete today as pay telephones.
Which means that many words, idioms, and phrases that were once a part of everyday life have gone the way of the dinosaurs and the Dodo bird.
Chickadees knees fricasseed
How often I remember asking my grandmother what she was cooking for dinner. Her response was always “Chickadees knees fricasseed.”
Imagine the response that would get today.
Now and then someone will tell another person that “You’ve got a lot of Moxie.” Say that to a Millennial and they will just blankly stare back at you trying to figure out what you just said.
Even someone old enough to understand the meaning of the expression might not know what Moxie really is.
In reality, it is a carbonated drink from New England that was among the first soft drinks in the United States.
Moxie is a regional beverage which has the flavor of bitter root beer, an acquired taste. Hence the origin of the expression “A lot of Moxie.”
There are countless other expressions, however, that has gone by the wayside. Watch an old black and white movie on Turner Classic Movies sometime and listen for the word “Swell.” How many times have you heard that one lately?
So what is a b-roll?
Modern television and movie producers are always talking about going out to get some “B-roll” without knowing where the term originated.
In the early days of television, when film was the only way to photograph a story, a producer had to edit two strips of film; A-roll and B-roll. Projectors would be synced so that the A-roll would project image and sound. The B-roll would be superimposed over the A-roll at the appropriate cue to show the actual scenes of the event.
Today it is done electronically and a ninth grader can do the entire process with their cell phone.
What if a television announcer remarks “Don’t touch that dial, we’ll be right back?” Those were actual words in the infancy of TV before the clicker kept us on the coach.
Back to the days of the typewriter. Ask your kids if they know what you mean when you say “carbon copy.”
Today the phrase “threw him under the bus” means pretty much the same thing as “hung him out to dry” but which expression would a modern teenager understand?
Do you think your kids would know what you meant if you said that “everything was hunky dory?”
Were the “Gay Nineties” a homosexual gathering of senior citizens at a retirement home?
“Gee willikers!” these are odd expressions. How about “great googlie mooglie” or “heavens to Betsy” or “Holy Cow!”
One interesting phrase that may actually make a comeback however is “You sound like a broken record.” That’s because audiophiles claim the range on vinyl recordings is markedly better than on CDs which almost replaced long-playing 33 1/3 records.
Of course vinyl will easily scratch and the “broken record” expression refers to the days of 78 rpm discs. Those discs were brittle and actually would break if dropped or hit someone over the head with one.
Stop and think for a few minutes, and it won’t take very long to compile a huge list to try out on someone born after 1990 or 2000.
But just remember to tell them that “Kilroy was here.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who travels throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer, reporter, and broadcast anchor who now focuses on writing about international events, people, and cultures around the globe.
He is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) with the goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up
Lead Image: By Spencer Selover Free to use under CC0 License, No attribution required https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-gray-longsleeve-shirt-holding-book-in-front-of-brown-wooden-book-case-706146/