Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

When I Was Seventeen

Originally posted on July 13, 2018

There’s a song with that title. I realized that I’ve grown not older, but old! I was talking to a mature woman of 60 who hadn’t heard of the phrase “Dig it!”! What?!? But this had several impacts on me!

1. I’ve already forgotten temporarily what that phrase was, and that in some ways, I’m “losing it”—and that phrase, too, it time bound. (Oh, I remembered. See above.)

2. “Dig it!” was a phrase used by be-bop artists, and entered the culture with Steve Allen’s Fables, his re-telling of the children’s fairy stories in 1950s jargon, when I used to draw cartoons of “hep-cats.”  Indeed, there was a whole bunch of slang that did not enter—or did not stay—in the common vocabulary!

3. It made me aware of how much of my life was couched in time-bound phrases. Corollaries (look it up—a term meaning “another way to say it’”high school geometry) are that I’m growing older; that young people don’t learn what we all learned; not everyone even back then was as intellectual as I was; substitute for the word  intellectual, egocentric; also scholarly; which never occurred to me, that I was scholarly. that most people did not frequent used book stores and read a lot; etc.

One Response to “When I Was Seventeen”

  • David Blatner says:

    “Can you dig it” is what Hamlet said to the gravedigger! (No, not really, but it would have been funny in an updated version.)

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