The Tubular, Peachy Keen, Off-the-Hook Words of Yesteryear

Hunky Dory and Da Bomb Dot Com are w-a-a-y more mega-cool, killer-diller, and bangin’ to say than Vaccine Envy, which is a downer to the max.

Totes Amazeballs is Awesome Sauce compared to Zoom Fatigue.

In my book, so many of the oldies-but-goodies from old school films and books are peachy-keen: golly-gee, you’re swell! You’re the cat’s pajamas, the cat’s meow, and the bee’s knees!

For better or worse, so many once beloved words, phrases, and wild and wonderful slang, have been relegated to oblivion. (Others are now part of the lexicon.) Some of the long-lost ones now strike us as charming and quaint, while others are as dead as a doornail. Usually, these words and phrases originate with groups marginalized by geography, race, religion, age, class, gender, sexual preference, and while they begin as derided terms, they often creep into the mainstream and end up in ads, movies, and even serious literature.

A few months ago, feeling nostalgic, I posted this question on Facebook: Which phrases and words from yesteryear do you miss? 800-plus passionate responses later, I was inspired to write this essay – an experience that was truly the cat’s meow.

I’m even smitten with the words of the no-goodnicks, hooligans, and hoodlums from that same era: G’wan you stool pigeon! You stoolie! Take a powder! For the love of Mike! For Pete’s Sake! Scram! Skedaddle! Vamoose!

Not every phrase from back in the day is fresh. Some of the craptastic ones about women really get my goat and piss me off: Skank. Skag. Nympho. Dumb Dora. Flat tire. Chippy. Floozie. Tramp. Hag. Ball and chain.

To which I reply with all the moxie I can muster, “Thou art twisted, dunderheaded, beef-witted numbskulls, ninnyhammers, knuckleheads, scoundrels, and sexist pigs! Go shove a sock in your fugly kissers and jump into the dungheap!”

Far niftier, more gladsome and mahvelous are these once oft-used objects: Floppy disks. Carbon paper. Eight tracks. Rabbit ears. Jukeboxes. Polaroids. Printing presses. Mimeo Machines. Encyclopedias. Jalopies. Card catalogs. Party Lines. Lava Lamps. Brassieres. Sanitary Napkin Belts. (TBH, no one misses Sanitary Napkin Belts!)

Ditto, these fly, phat, splendorific professions that sound as cute as a bug in a rug: Cigarette girl. Chimney sweep. Milkman. Stenographer. Switchboard Operator. Ice cutter. Lamp lighter. Bowling pin setter. Human alarm clock.

Let’s not give a short-shrift to the major 1950s hipster vocab of the Beatniks, those cool chicks and goateed Daddy-Os who dug turtlenecks and bongos, disliked squares, and had a gas making the scene and spending their dough in Greenwich Village coffeehouses.

It was those very dope Beats who led us into the hippie-dippie-trippy ‘60s, during which tie-dye-and-love-bead-wearing “old-ladies” and their “old men” gathered together at outta sight, far out, groovy, psychedelic be-ins to share good vibes and be righteous. (What a bummer when they had to flee from the fuzz.)

Next came glittery disco balls, hot pants, spandex jeans, and platform boots. Un4rtun8ly for me, my current posse of besties calls the disco era “lame,” despite my being gaga over it. My BFFs, usually a gabby crew of Chatty Cathys, silently roll their eyes when I become a dancin’ queen and sing That’s the way I like it, uh uh!, as I boogy-woogy-woogy down to Funkytown. Although afterwards, we all catch a flick together and chillax.

My home skillets also roll their eyes when I repeat these supercalifragilisticexpealodotious nuggets from “Valley Girl,” the 80s’ hit song that immortalized these gems: Gag me with a spoon. ‘Fer sure. Space cadet. Totally tubular. Barf me out. No biggie. That’s so grody.

My same chums do chortle and guffaw whenever I strike a pose and invoke these ‘90s blasts from the past: All that and a bag of chips! As if! Cool your jets! No w-a-ay! W-a-a-y! Aiight! Whatevs!

 No matter how much you may tease me, I will 4-evah luv the oodles of fantabulous, faboo, and epic sayings from the off-the-hook aughts: You go, girl! That’s whack! Cool beans! Whoop, there it is! Word up! Word! Talk to the hand!

Will any of today’s words and sayings strike us one day as charming? Doomscrolling. Fake news. Currently unavailable. Remote Learning. What a Karen! Social distancing. You’re on mute. You’re frozen. Vaccine selfie. Herd immunity. Binge watch. Ghosting. FOMO. Covid Insomnia. Alexa. Twitter. Instagram. TikTok.

I cannot wait for the day when the Pandemic is finally kaput, and I’ll be able to say, Bye, Felicia! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

On that rad day, when we’re all feeling less shook, I will be psyched to call the whole kit and kaboodle of you on my pink Princess Phone. I’ll invite you to my crib, and I’ll have a Kiki. You are all G.O.A.T.s, and we are fam.

We will party like it’s 1999.

Wearing our most extra, fancy-schmancy threads, we’ll frolic in da house and dash hither and yon.

Pulling no punches, we’ll spill the tea, dish, and chit-chat until the cows come home.

We’ll sip Soda Pop, New Coke, Highballs, Tab, Egg Creams, Old-Fashioneds, Bosco, Mocktails, and Sarsaparilla.

‘Fer sure, you won’t leave my pad feeling hangry. We will feast and chow down on an array of toothsome morsels and vittles galore. Dessert will include Ding Dongs, Max Headroom Candies,and Jello Molds.

We’ll be over the moon. We’ll go with the flow. We’ll bask in our auras. We’ll whoop and holler. We’ll kick it old-school. We’ll yell Woot Woot! Huzzah! Holla! Booyah! Cowabunga!

We’ll keep it real, have a blast, and rock and roll.

We’ll cut the rug doing the Hustle, Macarena, Twist, Jive, Do-Si-Do, Mashed Potato, Charleston, Bump, Cha Cha, Jitterbug, Nae Nae, Lindy Hop, and Renegade. When everyone’s gotta split, we’ll reassure one another that at the end of the day, it is what it is, and it’s all good.

In the meantime, to all you bitchin, wicked pissahs and fierce badasses out there, I send Virtual Hugs; Mad Props; Love And Light; Shout Outs; Peace, Love, and Granola; Lotsa Luck; and Good Providence.

Until I C U IRL: See ya later, Alligator, and may the force be with you!