Right Column Redux: Paul's Lo-Cal Peanut Buttter Substitute
Start of November 14 Column

Things You’ll Never See/Hear Again

(length warning) I was just saying “six of one, half a dozen of the other” (that is, these two things are one and the same) when I realized I belong to the last generation that will ever say that. I am not even sure the generations behind us know what a dozen is.

“A pint’s a pound the world around”  will be useless to a generation raised on liters and kilograms. Almost as useless as cursive handwriting, which my daughters can read but don’t regularly write. My grandchildren probably won’t even be able to read it. I decided to type up all my journals from 1970-1977, on the grounds that otherwise, in a few years, they will be as indecipherable as hieroglyphics.

My daughters learned to read an analog clock (there’s a retronym for you), but they have never used the language of that form of time-telling. “It’s a quarter till,” I used to say to my girls, or “It’s half past.”  “A quarter till what?” they asked. Neither owns a wristwatch (well OK, one has an IWatch).

They’ve seen dial telephones but never used one to make a call. Neither has a land line or subscribes to a newspaper.

Mental arithmetic? Dying out.

My own family has often accused me of having a great century-old vocabulary. I fear that’s true, but in for a penny, in for a pound. This is what happens when you make it to 70. Well, hubba-hubba. I was 13 before my dad taught me the rest of that: “Hubba-Hubba, ring-a-ding, baby you’ve got everything, woo-woo.”

 Not to mention another phrase I learned from Dad: “You’re a swell flapper. What have you got under the flap?” Google  comes up with no citations… except from now on, this sentence.

My mother used to say, “See you later alligator,” and I was an adult before I heard the other half, “In a while, crocodile.”


Robert E. Malchman

Two other pay phone-related phrases: When you've agreed to hear someone out, "Hey, it's your nickel." When you inform on someone (i.e., rat them out), "Drop a dime on them."

Also, I have the impression that "cc" on a letter originally meant "carbon copy," but perhaps now will survive as "copy circulated."

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