Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

Explaining Ancient Expressions to Teens

A little while ago, I wrote a piece about the meaning of modern teen-speak expressions like “on fleek” and “goals”. I might have crinkled my eyes a little at how ridiculous and nonsensical these expressions seemed to me. I may have to take the judgy crinkle face I made back now that I am thinking about some of the expressions we used back in the day. All I can say is that it is a bit of a lottery win that I can even come up with a list, because if you remember the 80’s – you didn’t have as much fun as I did. However, the point of this informative and somewhat frivolous piece is to help teens understand us geriatrics by teaching them the ways of their parents. Teens: here is a short guide to understanding what your parents mean when they say: Totally Tubular – this is what you said when something was great or interesting. It was not used to describe toilet paper rolls or sewage pipes. Gag me with a spoon – girls said this when they didn’t like something. It was most effective when accompanied by open mouth gum chewing and a tornado eye roll. The boys however tried to gag themselves with spoons just to see if they could. This activity spawned the expression Barf Me Out. Gnarly – boys used this term to describe everything from their sheared off skin from a bike accident to a perfectly executed wheelie on their banana bikes. Grody to the max – everybody under the age of 20 used this expression. It was used to describe something mildly gross or unpleasant with some additional emphasis. It really wasn’t to the max of anything, it was just fun to say. Let’s blow this Popsicle stand – when we were just to cool for one place, and we pretended we had somewhere cooler to be. We didn’t. Sometimes it failed and the person who said it walked out alone. Righteous – I can still picture Sean Penn saying this in a state of pot induced wonderment. If you don’t know who Sean Penn is, use the Google. Valley girls– This is more of a cultural phenomenon than an expression, and it is really hard to explain. The way Valley Girls spoke swept north america like a wave, with teen girls imitating it. The closest I can come to describing it is imagine if beach Barbie could speak, and then give her an attitude. Catch You On The Flip~side – The flip side refers to the B side of a record. For a modern explanation, picture saying goodbye to your friend and then flipping over your iphone. Now you are catching...
How Fiercely do You Hate Your Nickname?

How Fiercely do You Hate Your Nickname?

Why, Why, Why do people feel the need to assign nicknames to each other? It might surprise you to know that people you call by some bizarre version of their actual name grind their teeth every time you say it? Granted, our parents chose our birth moniker and most of us hated our given names as kids. We either complained that our handles made us different and got us teased, or the flip side, our names were boring. Nobody ever loved being called Griselda I am sure. But even worse some jackass kid starting to call her Grizzly in grade two and it stuck. For all eternity. There are a few varieties of nicknames. There is the bastardization of your name, which is most common, like Barbie for Barbara, Mike for Michael, or Dick for Richard (or Richard might just be a dick… there is always that possibility). The other type is more often assigned by your family or friends early in your life. Thus there are full grown adults still called “Pooper”, “Snotball” or “Shorty” at family reunions. Has anybody ever asked Pooper if she appreciates being reminded of the unfortunate corn incident of 1983? The most common one however is people changing your name to shorten or make it cute. I wonder if my friend Elizabeth chooses to go by Becky or if it was foisted on her by her friends? Last I checked, she signs her name Elizabeth and doesn’t wear a headband that says “Sure, call me Becky”. You can understand a nickname more when your name is Friedlplatz and you are from lower Bavaria so nobody in North America can pronounce it. Freddy it is. I have been called Maggie, Mags, your Magesty, whatever. Hate them all. I don’t mind endearments though. Sweetie, Honey, Love, they are all fine. I also kind of like it when store clerks call me M’am. I earned every wrinkle and fat roll befitting my age so I feel that calling me “Miss” is kind of disingenuous. I clearly passed “Miss” 30 years ago and am now full on “M’am”. The first 20 year old that calls me “Dearie” though is going to get a punch in the throat. I think that most people might not be as enamored with what ever nickname you use for them. Maybe “Big Cheese” isn’t what your fat friend appreciates being called. If you address your best friend by a loving nickname that they approve, then do it. Call them Binky or Poopsie and they will still love you. I have also heard that Doctors really don’t like being addressed as “Doc”. They spent 7 to 10 years in post graduate school, they...
Dudes, Where do You Get Your Fashion Advice?

Dudes, Where do You Get Your Fashion Advice?

This is an open letter to a particular slice of male society who are shooting themselves in the foot. Not literally plugging one in their big toe, just metaphorically, however still has the the same effect on their desirability as a festering foot would.  They are walking fashion train wrecks, and these men need an intervention. What twigged me to this pressing issue was an event I attended the other day at one of my kids’ schools. What I saw that night inspired me to write you menfolk this letter. Picture the scene: youngsters so excited, wearing dresses, their first pair of high heels, boys in suits, all with precision hair styles and shiny smiles. Their parents are coming to watch them graduate from middle school, excitement is in the air and the kids are feeling pretty darned fancy. As the parade of parents stroll in, I am struck by some of their interpretations of the words “formal dress event”. The ladies had generally made an effort, and wore outfits befitting the occasion. Some of the guys however, holy shit. I can’t make this stuff up. One Dad donned a pair of sloppy shorts ripped in dubious locations, and a cut-off sweatshirt thus putting his armpit squirrel on prominent display. Seriously, he looked like he just rolled out from under his car, stuffed his dirty white-socked feet into a pair of pre-Cambrian sandals and sauntered into his child’s grad. To complete his outfit, he tipped a big can of Monster energy drink up to his unshaven greasy face and dribbled it into his scruff. His daughter must have been so proud. Then there was the one with the black jeans, a chained up wallet and a t-shirt espousing his rank in a white supremacist group. I will just let that sink in for a minute. Another Dad was at least in clean clothes, but I think they might have been pajamas. Not the sexy kind either. Before you decide I am the most heinous judgy bag in the world, I do admire somebody in their work gear showing up because that is as quick as they could get there. A mechanic or construction worker isn’t going to be neat and tidy on their way home from work, not if they are working hard anyway.  (For the record, a sweaty guy wearing a pair of Carhartt overalls is mangerie – straight up sexy.) These working guys are not the people I am talking about. It is the ones who make the choice to look like they just crawled out of a dumpster that make me cringe and want to save them. A few wise words for you my fine and...
The Evil Among us: Fake Cancer Scammers

The Evil Among us: Fake Cancer Scammers

Have you noticed your socials feeds are riddled with heart wrenching appeals for clicks and support, and more critically, money? I know mine are, and they are relentless. The stories are indeed tragic. Sick babies, burnt out homes, devastating injuries and cancer. So much cancer. There are also appeals for blood donation, hospitals, animal shelters and various charities. Lots of need, and limited funds. These appeals are particularly compelling when they come from a local source, or for issues that touch our own situations. People who have big hearts donate generously because essentially humans are decent. We understand that it could be any of us, at any time and we need to spread the love around. Passing the hat to help people who have fallen on hard times or are ill, is one of the most humane and selfless acts of generosity. Now, it is even easier to donate to causes we care about with on-line giving. A few clicks and you have saved a kitten or contributed to some kid’s bone marrow transplant. Whatever you care about, you can help in a New York minute with a donation sent through the web. And therein lies the problem. Any jackass can come up with an appeal for funding on any issue. However for some reason cancer seems to be the trigger that gets people giving and makes them easy marks. The good and compassionate people on Facebook or wherever click away their money only to hear that the person they funded isn’t actually sick, or doesn’t even exist.Or worse, they never know they were taken for a rube. There was a story sometime back about a woman who was pretty damned gutsy about her scam. She convinced people at her workplace that she had cancer, and was “pushing through it” and coming to work. She even shaved her head (talk about commitment). Her co-workers set up a fund for her, they created on line appeals and even held fundraising events for her expenses. She never had cancer. She didn’t have so much as the bloody sniffles. Her main diagnosis is that she is a scumbag with no moral fiber. It was good to read that she was eventually charged for fraud, but those kindly donors were out their money, and likely a little piece of their souls too. Another impact of this sort of story is that people become mistrustful and miserly when they are asked for help again. So the genuine tragedies that happen to good people are at risk of being viewed with a nasty skepticism because of a few terrible humans. As a cancer warrior myself, I become apoplectic when I hear about these charlatans whose only...
In Sickness and in Health

In Sickness and in Health

Every June we celebrate Father’s Day. To be fair, we Moms get a whole lot more fussing on our day in May than the Dads do. I hate to admit it, but I am always grateful that the kids’ teachers would make sure there was a card or crafty thing for Dad because I have been known to forget. My husband and I aren’t greeting card people anyway. Our traditions don’t involve shmoopy mandatory cards, in fact we don’t follow the rules of magazine marriages and groove more to our own beat. For instance, we prefer to save for vacations and not go for expensive date night dinners. Out of necessity, a trip to Costco without the kids is what we call a date these days. We don’t exchange jewelry, or do couples massages at the spa, hell we don’t even stay up on New Year’s Eve anymore. We are knee deep in busy kids and being middle aged. We have earned our naps, and dammit, we will take those naps. The one rule we do follow is an important vow from our wedding. Among the promises we made that day was that we would be there for each other in sickness and in health. At the time, we pictured the sickness part coming way the hell later than the health part. We had visions of sickness looking like elderly me helping geriatric him with his cane, or to find his teeth every day because he was forgetting where he put them. “In the glass on the bathroom counter honey”, I pictured myself saying. We knew realistically that humans start to fall apart as we age and in our declining years we would need to be strong for each other when illness came calling. What we didn’t know is how little time we would have between “I do” and cancer. It is me. I have cancer, and it is a bad one. My husband and the Father of our children had to make good on his promise to be there for me when it got hard. Really hard. And because we aren’t celebrating “Husband Day” (although that should be a thing) this post is about my kids’ Dad. When I was diagnosed, he must have felt like he was suddenly crushed by a falling brick wall. I am not sure how he felt at first, because his initial response was that he would take the cancer on himself if he could wish it to be so. He was terrified for me, and our kids. Others might have shunted aside their vow and succumbed to their fears and bolted. He did not. Every single day since cancer came to fuck...