by Steve Liddick

Do you want to look sophisticated? Do you want people to think you’re really hep? Do you want to appear as though you are cookin’ with gas?

Okay, first of all don’t use words like “hep” and phrases like “cookin’ with gas.” Nobody has said those things since the 1940s.

What is it about some people that they hold onto the phrases of their day—long after their day?

I guess some are big fans of the passé.

“Radical” was worn out by the end of the 90s but I still hear it. I don’t remember when “super” passed away, but it’s still out there for those who have not “gotten the memo.”

See? Now they have me doing it.

I once worked with a guy who, when someone said something interesting, he would say. “swingin’.” That went out of fashion in the 1950s along with “ginchy” and blue suede shoes.

“Cool” seems to have survived the ages, while “hot” has not. “Cool” jumped the acceptability barrier and continues as a symbol of approval.

Hard to say why some catchwords and phrases live on while others fall out of wide usage.

A woman I worked with a few years ago did everything imaginable to appear chic, worldly, and way out there on the front lines of really smart stuff. However, her efforts were so clumsy that she came off looking like a hick.

She would use what she apparently believed were the current catch phrases, “Don’t go there,” and “I didn’t see that coming,” not realizing that they had long since been relegated to the conversational slag heap.

She apparently never heard the groans coming from others in meetings when she would toss in words like “Paradigm,” “Algorithms,” and “Modalities.”

I guess she figured her bosses would think she was really hep.

If I ever again hear someone say “at this point in time” I may “toss my cookies” on their blue suede shoes.



REFLECTIONS – Updated every Wednesday

by Steve Liddick

We are becoming a nation of addicts. I don’t mean drugs, although that is another problem to discuss at another time. No, we are becoming addicted to our smart phones.

You see it all the time; mostly young people walking down the street talking or texting on their iphones, seemingly unaware of the world around them. I have seen people walk into lamp posts, parking meters, and even into other people. Occasionally you see couples in restaurants or two people walking side by side, talking on their phones, not conscious of the actual human next to them. You have to wonder who they are talking to. Possibly to each other, but they apparently don’t know how to relate in the old-fashioned face-to-face mode.

I went to a county fair once and saw a young woman sitting on her horse, completely oblivious to her surroundings and–I’m not making this up–she was texting. It was as though the horse was not even there, just a convenient place to sit. At the very least she might have taken her weight off the poor animal and found a conventional chair to sit on to do her texting.

More and more car crashes these days involve drivers who were texting instead of paying attention to the road ahead of them. Texting while driving is at least as dangerous as driving drunk.

I own an iphone, of course. It would be un-American not to. I’m not addicted to it, though. I only use it for phone calls, email, messaging friends, connecting to the Internet, reading my Kindle books, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, monitoring my checking account, watching TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Crackle, taking pictures, checking Craigslist, ordering items through Amazon, and as a calculator. I don’t wear a watch anymore, so I use the phone’s clock and alarm features to give me the time and to remind me when to walk the dog, water the outdoor plants, take my pills, and carry the trash down to the road for weekly pickup.

But I it’s not like I’m addicted or anything—like today’s young people.

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