Baby Boomer Slang and then Some…..

Baby Boomer 2

There was a day in July, according to my “Calendar of Events” that was “Get Gnarly Day”.

Before I could achieve my proper “Gnarliness”, I had to recall what it meant.

Whenever I hear “Gnarly”, I think of the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.

I’d be willing to bet Keanu Reeves mumbled “Gnarly” at least once during that cinematic classic.

I think “Gnarly” came from the era when surfing was king on the west coast of America.

Surfer dudes would state a wave was “Gnarly”,  meaning it was difficult or even dangerous.

The word then morphed over the years to describe anything cool and exciting.

Now I had some guidelines on how I could “Get Gnarly”.

So I did a little research and stumbled upon “100 Slang Terms From the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.”

The title in itself is a rather bold statement.

I still use some of these phrases.

But I am an old dude

Might even say I’m close to “Burned Out” status in some circles

It’s not like when you hear your favorite tune from your youth while riding an elevator or while on old hold.

That’s a clear sign you are aging.

(BTW, has anyone heard Led Zeppelin while in an elevator or on hold?)

So, I reviewed this list and was reminded of the time when lots of us talked that way.

A couple of my favorites were “Passion Pit”, “Back Seat Bingo” and “Submarine Races “.

They described locations and terms for dealing with raging teen hormones..

The drive-in theater was the “Passion Pit” and “Backseat Bingo” and the Submarine Races” were what we were involved in.

Sometimes there was even a little “Baseball” being played.

The guys and gals would often discuss about someone “getting to first base” last weekend at the “Passion Pit”.

If you “struck out”, well, let’s just say no car windows got foggy.

Our modes of transportation were important in our teens but when you said a certain lady had a “Classy Chassis”, you weren’t talking about the body of her car.

Both guys and gals could be “Foxy” which didn’t mean you had a bushy tail and over-sized ears. It meant you had undeniable sex appeal.

(Thank you Jimi Hendrix!)

A superbly-constructed “Foxy Classy Chassis” might also be called a “Brick House” but my Father had a slightly different phrase for a well-designed person.

And, back to the west coast, it wasn’t enough to have a nice build, you had to have a great “Bod”.

And, in some strange way,  certain geeks developed sex appeal and became “Zeeks”.

The power of TV, right Urkel?

But “Skinny” had nothing to do with physiques.

That’s what you said when you wanted the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

You wanted the “Lowdown”.

My Father also told me he couldn’t run and he couldn’t fight, so he had to be a lover.

I guess if you tell yourself something over and over again, you start to believe it.

But Dad was not a tall and towering type by any imagination so I suspect he would do what he could do so as to avoid a “Knuckle Sandwich”.

Wise guys like he and I were often “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin” but we could resort to snappy repartee and some clever witticisms to buy time until the good guys arrived to bail us out.

“Hang Ten” was another surfing term and I suspect it was close to “Hangin’ Loose” if you were taking things easy and relaxing. (See “Chill”).

If you were someone that had everything anyone could hope for, you were sort of complimented with being “All That and a Bag of Chips”

However, if it was time to hit the road in a relationship, and your chips got stale, you were “Kicked to the Curb”.

You didn’t wants to end up in the gutter.

If you were one, cool dude, you’d never be kicked to the curb because you were “Daddy-O.”

Maynard G. Krebs, later Gilligan, from the era of the beatniks knew about that.

Used to be, the “Motorheads” or the guys that spent most of their time with their heads under the hood of a car were called “Greasers”.

In high school, they took “shop” and their hair never moved in the wind, short of hurricane force.

They learned that generous amounts of Brylcream, more than “just a little dab’ll do ya” presented a sheen that literally glistened in the sun.

Or, at least it would have if they weren’t hiding beneath a car hood.

They would also leave their mark on the roads and keep the tire industry booming by insisting they “Burn Rubber” with their vehicles.

It was sort of like a mechanical dog marking its’ territory.

When those “Goodyears” got smooth, you needed some money.

Cash. Dinero, The green stuff.

We called it “Bread” .

No ATM’s or credit cards in those days.

So, if you were stressing and worrying about how you were going to pay for those new “Firestones”, your buddy would suggest that you calm down and “Take a Chill Pill”.

And, if you tore down and remounted all those new tires yourself, you probably needed a quick shower because of all the grease and filth.

You were “Grody” but if the crud was excessive, you’d be “Grody to the Max” which, in today’s lingo, the EPA would be calling you.




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