There comes a time in everyone’s life when startling realizations become more common place, I think it happens around the same time the prostate starts to go in men and menopause becomes an issue in women. One of the most significant things that I have come to realize lately is what I am learning these days. Things I never thought I would ever know…or want to know, but has come to great significance in society at large. For example,
If something is good, it is “Tight.”
If you are delving into Gossip, you are “messy'”
If you wish to wear the latest footwear, you want “J’s” or “Kicks.”
If something is particularly cool, it “throws hard.”
If you are focusing on minutia, you are “trifling”
If you express negative feelings or attitudes, you are “Hatin'”
If someone is really proficient at any given activity, he is a “beast.”
Now, as a writer, I am fairly familiar with the English language and I can derive meanings from context clues in conversation. But what makes this seems more significant was hearing my wife spout these euphemisms as comfortably as any teenager, and I understood her.
Think about that for minute. I’m 45 and I am conversing with my wife using terms as far removed from proper English as is German. Kids have had their own dialect in each generation as they have had for…well… generations. Swell and keen became cool and neat then transmogrified into hip and groovy, awesome and righteous and now it is tight and throws hard. And as we get older, we have to translate the new terms into something we can understand.
It helps to have a career working with the youth. Michelle is a teacher, so she gets a full immersion in the culture. I work with new employees, many of whom are 20-somethings who use the lingo. I often find myself confused about who the latest celebrity is when I see them on the TV and I wonder –sometimes out loud (and I do that more and more as I get older too)—”why do I care about what this person is selling?” When it is obvious that somewhere, some young person is right now pestering his parents to buy whatever it is and do it now, before it is too late.
I guess it goes to being out of touch with popular culture. It’s kind of sad, really. I was once so proud of how entrenched in pop culture I was. I got all the references. I knew all the artists. I knew the lyrics to almost all the top 40 songs. I could quote almost every line from the top grossing films (I still can, but the films are all on the 5 dollar DVD rack at Wal-Mart). But I don’t get much of it anymore. I don’t like the new movies. I don’t like much of the music (I do like some…Daughtry, Nickleback to name a few) and I don’t know who is famous anymore. Lady Gaga? Who the Gagagoogoo is Lady Gaga? Oh, she was the half naked stripper-looking singer with soot all over her at the Grammys? Ok…and why are we listening to her?
I’m old enough to know I’m getting “Old”—with a capital “O.” But at least I can still converse using the proper lingo. That makes me a Beast and that’s tight. Don’t be hatin’.