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Humor June 2012

Strictly Humor

Awesome, But Don’t Garfunkel Your Dog

By B. Elwin Sherman

Ladies, if your slip was showing in 1955, someone might’ve told you that “your pinky’s out of jail.” Gentlemen, if you found yourself stuck with the family station wagon on prom night, you had to transport your date in a “tank,” but that might’ve increased your chances of playing a game of “backseat bingo.”

You know that I love language, but the next person who says “awesome” to me, referring to anything less than being trapped in their car and caught in the crest of a lava tsunami during a frog hailstorm, gets a pie in the face. For the record, the fact that I was able to give a department store clerk the correct change today is not “AWESOME!”

When I posted the above observation to my Facebook page, I was criticized by a FB friend for being “a curmudgeon who doesn’t respect the evolution of language.” I beg to differ, most awesomely, because I’m a big fan of evolution. Without it, we wouldn’t have two feet, opposing thumbs or Cheez Doodles.

But, I also recognize a juicy devolution when I hear it, and when the devolving cashier praised my ability to subtract 38 cents from 100 and arrive at 62 as being an “awesome!” achievement, I wondered what word she’d use, should she leave work in her Toyota pelted by plummeting amphibians and floating away atop a volcanic tidal wave.

Something told me it would’ve been 50 characters long and consisted entirely of consonants, when a simple “awesome” would have then appropriately sufficed.

I’m also now hearing from Slangville that the word “cool,” as in “These Cheez Doodles are cool, dude,” has also devolved into the word “dope,” and that the new word for “dude” is now “dog.”

Thus, we’re sure to hear the following in today’s lazy language: “These Doodles are really dope, dog.” If that doesn’t put a visegrip on your vernacular, other terms that are edging out “cool” are “tight,” “fresh,” “crisp” or “sick,” and if you survive all that and someone thinks that you are still what’s heretofore been labeled “uncool,” you’re now “lame” or “wack.”

Okay … so if I’m lame after breaking my leg, my lame limp may be wack, but I’m still sick. If that’s fresh with you, I’m tight with it.

More? If you’re a disc jockey and you play a song no one thinks is dope, you’re being “sarcoustic.” I happen to like that one. I think it’s fresh, dog (and right about there, I’m hoping that my copy editor is not paying attention to commas).

In today’s devolving idioms, if you’re annoying me, you’re “basting my wheels.” If nothing went right for you today and you come home exhausted, you’re “catterwacked” (not a big reach, if you were wack to begin with). If no one knows where you went, and no one knows why you’re gone, you’re “garfunkeled.”

Spending too much time on the computer? You’re a “mouse potato,” but that’s crisp if you’re a tool.

The new “left” is now “Larry,” and for reasons I’m still trying to fathom. I heard it used recently this way: “If you’re driving up Route 302, you hang a Larry on Maple.” I don’t know of a comparable revision for hanging a right, but if your name is Larry, I’d go that way and avoid Maple until this blows over.

Jargonizing (hey, my column, my word license) is nothing new. It’s a time-honored tradition. We could go back to the 1950s:

Ladies, if your slip was showing in 1955, someone might’ve told you that “your pinky’s out of jail.” Gentlemen, if you found yourself stuck with the family station wagon on prom night, you had to transport your date in a “tank,” but that might’ve increased your chances of playing a game of “backseat bingo.”

Go back another century and you’d be paying your best friend the highest compliment by calling him a “regular brick.” Or, it was possible to be a “hugger-mugging hobadehoy talking fimble-famble,” especially if you brought your prom date home late and carriage bingo was around in 1855.

All of this rant and frustration and my sense of going down in this modern upward futility of slangishness, is no doubt my payback for driving Mother Pauline crazy at supper many years ago by calling her stuffed pork chops “Wow, these are far out, Mom.”

In fact, they weren’t far out, they were right there. And, they were awesome.

 

Syndicated humor columnist B. Elwin Sherman writes from Bethlehem, N.H. All rights reserved. You may contact him via his website/blog at Witbones.com.

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