When is the last time you heard someone exclaim "far out?" It was quite the catch phrase back in the 1970s. I think John Denver made it popular. I remember screaming it the first time I rode the Mind Bender at Six Flags and realized that I was still alive and in one piece after the first loop. I think it replaced "groovy," which was worn out back in the 1960s, in the days of the Flower Children and the Great Speckled Bird.
If you don't remember the Great Speckled Bird, you didn't spend any time on 10th Street in Atlanta back in the day.
The 1980s brought their own set of catch words and phrases -- most inspired by the vast wasteland that was network television. "I pity the fool!" Mr. T. The A-Team. Remember?
"Where's the beef?" That one came from the old woman in the Wendy's ad and was hijacked by everyone from politicians to preachers. "I'll be back." Yes, it was that long ago when the Governator began the Terminator series. He did come back, too. I wonder if he will again. And "What you talking 'bout, Willis?" was used ad nauseam.
The '90s weren't much better. Everything -- and I mean everything -- was "awesome." Y'all. Everything isn't awesome. Some things are great, some things are terrific and some are just OK, but for years and years and years everything from hand soap to a two-dollar dinner was considered "awesome" by a large segment of the population. I got so tired of hearing that word!
Not as tired as I got of hearing teenagers say "whatever" after every statement anyone made. "I'm going to have to call your mom."
"We're going to spend two weeks at Disney World."
I would rather have heard "awesome" or even "groovy."
Here are some others. Remember when everybody used to say "psyche!" It would work like this. I would say something that no one would expect me to say in 100,000 years, like, "I think I am going to buy a set of Tech football tickets for next year." When I got the desired effect I was looking for -- an astonished look or something -- I would say "psyche!" It's kind of the equivalent of "gotcha!"
People don't say that any more, for which I am very thankful.
Another annoying verbal habit of the era was people making a statement they didn't mean and then saying "not" right after it. An example. "I hope Alabama's football team has a very productive spring practice this year -- not!"
Here's another one. "Talk to the hand." When one person wanted to talk to another person about something said person didn't want to hear, that person would simply hold up his or her hand and instruct the former person to "talk to the hand." I am certain you followed that dialogue very carefully -- not!
Now I told you all of that to tell you this. I think more than a few words and catch phrases have made their way into our modern lexicon, and I think it is way past time to put a few worn out words and phrases to rest -- permanently.
For instance, I've heard enough waiters and waitresses respond to my "thank you" after they have poured my tea or freshened up my coffee or brought me my dinner with "no problem." That grates on my nerves like fingers on a chalkboard. Of course we don't have chalkboards anymore, and we don't need "no problem" anymore, either. Let's start a campaign to bring back "you're welcome" as a proper response to "thank you."
I'm tired of hearing about "superfoods," too. If I have one more person tell me that I can cure my cancer by eating 17 servings of asparagus or kale or the bottled water that only they sell, I might clobber somebody.
I think we have heard more than enough about the fiscal cliff, and I think we can pack away "spoiler alert," too. If you think you're about to spoil something for the rest of us, just shut up. I don't need to hear about your "man cave" either. Every dork who has a cluttered basement with a widescreen television thinks he lives in a "man cave." OK. Maybe I'm just jealous about that one, but still. Enough really is enough.
And if I never hear another person refer to a woman's "baby bump," it will be way too soon to suit me. And y'all -- everything is not "amazing" any more than everything was "awesome" back in the '90s. If we apply "amazing" to everything from a pretty good pizza to an all right movie, we won't have a word to use when something truly amazing really does come along.
Everybody got that? And to all you teenagers out there -- YOLO (you only live once) is not an excuse to act like a mindless idiot. You didn't invent youth, and we have all been there. After all, the 39th anniversary of Streak Week is only a few days away. Now that was a YOLO moment!
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.