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Carol Perkins: Slang

Slang may change with each generation, but Carol Perkins still uses the slang of 'her day,' in ancient Metcalfe Co., KY. The 1960's in Edmonton was a groovy time. Some might even call it far out.
The next earlier Carol Perkins column,What will I do without Oprah

By Carol Perkins

I grew up on slang. I continue to use words from "my day" that have served me well. As a matter of fact, many are now so commonly used, no one will remember that they were slang in origin! Let me take you back to when these words or phrases began.

One of the hobbies of most boys in my town was to drive fast, often reckless, and then brag about it. When a boy marked off the square, he often burned rubber. That meant that he left his tire marks for other kids to see, to admire, and to emulate. Boys also drag raced up and down the old Glasgow Road, bookin' it as fast as their souped up cars could go, hoping to "blow the doors off" the other's car. Frankly, I found a boy sad who considered this activity entertaining, but more than a few loved drag racing, playing chicken and living on the edge.

Speaking of cars, if a group of us were in a car and met another car with just one headlight, the one who said, Padiddle first won. Won what? Nothing. That person "called it" first, which meant he/she was observant. When a student put a little too much force on the gas pedal and peeled out of the school parking lot, he was a hood. Also, if a group of guys were going together in one car, invariably one would declare he was riding shotgun. That meant that next to the driver, he was the coolest of all. They might then truck on over to another guy's house to hang out.

Another popular slang word was bug as in "The way that teacher walks up and down the aisle, looking over my shoulder, bugs me." That word has become so used that it is a verb in the dictionary. My favorite expression is, "That bugs the daylights out of me." I use it often. I also still say words like blast in that I had a blast at the concert. Sometimes I need to crash, which means get some sleep. If I see someone dressed up I will say she is decked out. If something unnerves me, it might make me freak out. Even though common now, they began as slang words during the 60's.

We also had expressions we used with our parents and our friends. If we told them something they might not like, we could always use as a comeback, "Well, don't have a cow!" If a friend were supposed to do something he didn't do, we might say, "Ah, don't sweat it!" If two friends argued and then got over it, they might say to each other, "Everything's copasetic" meaning everything is fine now. If a kid's grades were bad and he was telling his friend about his parents' reaction, he might say they were bummed out over them or they went ape.

If I thought it was time to leave somewhere, I might turn to my friends and say, "Let's split." If the location was a happening place, we might want to hang around longer. At the end of the evening, I might tell the hostess that the party was a gas, which meant a lot of laughs. However, if there might be danger from some of the guests, one of us might whisper to the other, "Let's beat feet."

During the 60's, daring young men who were usually a little tanked might moon those in another car. A bald headed man might be called "Crome Dome" and a church key did not unlock a church. Threads were clothes, halters were tops worn in the summer, thongs were worn on feet, square was someone not cool, a fink told on others, after a break-up, a guy was "on the make," someone who wore the latest fashions was "hip" and life was just plain "groovy" in the 60's. It was Far Out! -Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2011-07-03 00:12:12
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