One beautiful Wednesday morning I was golfing with the 9ers. The 9ers or 9 holers are a fabulous group of women who love to play golf…just not 18 holes. For most of the round, we enjoy nature while socializing, encouraging and sympathizing with each other on every hole and every shot. On this particular par 5, I hit my drive about 200 yards…okay maybe 125 yards! As it’s flying through the air, Charlotte, my friend and golf partner shouts out, “Nice shot. A shame your ‘towards’ was off.” As a golfer, I’ve become familiar with many terms such as ‘chili-dip’, ‘shank’, ‘hook’ and LPGA…’last putt goes again’ not the Ladies Professional Golf Association. ‘Towards’ was a new one. I looked at Charlotte with a ‘what does that mean’ look and she said, “It’s a southern expression meaning the shot was off line…nowhere near the hole.”
This got me thinking…how many words or terms do we use that we understand but are head-scratchers for others?
In my family, one of those words is ‘becky’. I apologize if the following is a little indelicate but it is what it is! From the early age of 4, I remember when someone made a ‘stinky’ someone else would pinch their nose and say, “Oh, becky”. Kids are sponges. Absorbing, repeating and imitating words, phrases and actions they hear and see. So it was with ‘becky’. When I was older, having been questioned many times by my friends as to what’s a ‘becky’ and where did it come from, I asked my Mom. First thing she did was take me to another room, closed the door and swore me to secrecy. Before I was born, someone in the family had an ‘accident’ and Mom was tasked with bringing the soiled suit to the cleaners. After getting her receipt and before she could make her escape, the owner of the store came out from the back and bellowed to his wife, “Becky, what’s that smell?” Hence, ‘becky’ was born.
Remember your first jalopy? The other day while talking with a friend, we started to reminisce about the past and growing up. She said she was sharing with one of her grandsons, who had just gotten his first car, that her first car was an old jalopy. She said, he looked at me quizzically and asked “What the heck is a jalopy?” Words.
Language, words and phrases are constantly changing. New words and phrases are slipping into our daily vocabulary while others are falling out of use. Technology has had an impact on expressions that have become obsolete. Remember ‘don’t touch that dial’, ‘carbon copy’ and ‘you sound like a broken record? Today, TV’s don’t have dials, carbon paper is seldom used because typewriters are seldom used and, though vinyl is making a come-back, records are few and far between.
Back in the ‘good old days’ if you had moxie you were going like sixty and considered the cat’s meow. If all was good and life was swell, you were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley and no one could accuse you of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill.
So as life changes, let’s remember to wake up and smell the roses and, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I hope to see you in the funny pages.