Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Heavens to Murgatroyd

Originally posted on June 18, 2018

This old essay circulating on the internet many years ago, was sent by an old, old friend:
   Remember the name, Murgatroyd. Would you believe the email spell checker did not recognize the word Murgatroyd? Heavens to Murgatroyd!
    Lost Words from our childhood: Words gone as fast as the buggy whip! Sad really!
The other day a not so elderly lady said something to her son about driving a jalopy and he looked at her quizzically and said "What the heck is a jalopy?"
     OMG (new phrase)!
     He never heard of the word jalopy!! She knew she was old… but not that old.
Well, I hope you are Hunky Dory after you read this and chuckle.
    About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology.
    These phrases included "Don’t touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry."
   Back in the olden days we had a lot of ‘moxie.’ We’d put on our best ‘bib and tucker’  to ‘straighten up and fly right’.
   Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy moley!
We were ‘in like Flynn’ and ‘living the life of Riley”.
   Even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!
   Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell?

Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.  .. of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, penny loafers, and pedal pushers… And don’t forget… Saddle Stitched Pants! Oh, my aching back! Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.

We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say,  Well, I’ll be ‘a monkey’s uncle!’ Or, this is a ‘fine kettle of fish’!…We discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent, as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind!
We blink, and they’re gone. Where have all those great phrases gone?
Long gone: Pshaw, The milkman did it. Hey! It’s your nickel..
Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Well, Fiddlesticks! Going like sixty.
I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Wake up and smell the roses.

It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has liver pills.
This can be disturbing stuff! ("Carter’s Little Liver Pills" are gone too!)

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeable times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once existed … and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.

Leaves us to wonder where Superman will find a phone booth…  See ya later, alligator! Okidoki .
We are the children of the fabulous 50’s… or before! No one will ever have that opportunity again..  We were given one of the most precious gifts: … our memories ..Amen.

Lately, this friend replied with a palette of emoticons, which cannot be coded—not yet, at least.


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