Archive for January, 2009

Old Man Word 89: Bologna

The old man word is bologna (the city and the meat) not baloney (the drivel that comes from your mouth).  Old people think you talk baloney but the real mystery is bologna.  Why is that product still manufactured?  Does someone actually eat that stuff?

Yup. Old people.

Twas a time, kids, when bologna was the sandwich of choice.  I’m not talking about the fancy veal bologna you can order off Amazon, I’m talking the round circles of Meat (TM) served by the Oscar-Meyer folks.  This stuff:

Meat Bologna

Meat Bologna

Believe it or not bologna once reigned as the top sammich meat.  Two slices of white bread, buttered and mayonnaised, with some bologna shoved in between.  Bologna was King.  Then there was PB&J (sans mayo but with, yes, the butter) and, at the bottom, the lowly cheese sandwich, usually made with Velveeta.   There was no fancy shit like “turkey” or “roast beef” or any of this crap you see today.

Then, in 1981, a man named “Carl Buddig” came to America from Germany.  Buddig took one look at the crappy meat market and realized “bologna is disgusting.”  So he rolled out his own presliced faux meat product line “Buddig.”  The Buddig meats were essentially bologna except with a way more marketable name (who doesn’t want to eat meat products named “Buddig”).  The revolution was on.

Not to be outdone the Oscar-Meyer crew rolled out the Lunchable thing.  That was cool for awhile until everyone realized it was just smaller slices of bologna packaged up with crackers.  With the cat out of the bag the corporate-grocery chains rolled in with their “deli meats.”  All of this led to the catastrophic situation of today where snotty kids eat caviar and black truffle infused pheasant sandwiches, I don’t know.

And yet the bologna is still eaten by the old people.  Why?

Here’s the answer:  Old people are stubborn.  Stubborn fools.  They lack the basic capacity of all mammals to change their behavior from negative experiences.  They drive Buicks, they use the Right Guard spray on deodorant, and they eat bologna.  In fact old people are so dagnabbit stubborn they not only eat the bologna they’ll eat that retched “head cheese” the butcher sells.  What you don’t know for head cheese?  Don’t be a fool.

Now With Extra Gullet!

Now With Extra Gullet!

Head cheese was created when the bologna-makers said “what would happen if we put less meat and more gelatin into our already wretched bologna?”  The result was head cheese: bits of discarded meat molded together with gelatin.  Dogs won’t eat head cheese.  Yet visit any old folks home and you’ll see rows upon rows of skinny old people snacking on head cheese.

“I got me a hunk-a stomach in this one!”

This purt-near starts a riot of course.  Scores upon scores of old people screaming and yelling and shaking their canes and demanding more stomachs in their head cheese.

It’s terrible.

Bologna. n.

1.  Relic used by Hollywood screenwriters to provide authenticity to films set in the 1950’s.

2.  Food [disfavored, primarily used by old people].


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Old Man Word 90: The Itch

Itchiness is a character flaw.  Itching stems from bad hygiene and/or bad women.  I shun the itching and their itching ways.  The very word itch is, to me, the equivalent of the word moist to a woman: awful.

My issue with the word spawns from — who else? — the eld.  While most of us view itch as a verb (“the reaction to various skin conditions”) or an adjective (“a longing or desire”), old people think of itch as a noun.  This is not a noun you want to parley with.  Here’re some examples:

I’m itching ta git my hands on that new outboard. (Fine. Itch as verb.)

He had him an itchy trigger-finger. (Illiterate but acceptable.  Itch as adjective.)

That injun girl gave me the itch. (Yuck.)

You see old people — for all their flaws — are very polite.  This is why they call you a dunderhead instead of an asshole, highfalutin instead of an asshole, and a whippersnapper instead of a fucker.  They’re so accursedly polite they don’t find it proper to talk about diseases like chlamydia, crabs, or gonorrhea.  Instead, they refer to each as merely …

The Itch.

If the list of Itch-seases ended there I might be more forgiving.  But it doesn’t.  Seems “the itch” also refers to something else.  Something so vile one may be forgiven for tossing their Grandma’s Jitterbug on the floor and stepping on it.  That “something else” is set out in this 1950’s ad for Lanocaine:


Yup.  In addition to the common skin disorders, folk also used to suffer from the itchiness of unwashed vaginas and unwiped rectums.  (What they politely call “personal membranes.”).  Unwashed vaginas have never been cool but back in the day we must conject that they were positively revolting (what with the hair and the maxi-pads and all).  The very thought of Grandma spreading slabs of salve on her itchy membranes almost makes me feel sorry for poor castigated Grampa.

That is until I consider that Gramps probably used the Lanacaine to cure his “naughty bits” from whatever it is he caught off that Injun gal.

And, of course, either of the two could have been “itch-scratch-itching” those rectum-membranes right?

It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

Itch.  Multiple usages.

1.   An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch.
2.  A restless desire or craving for something: e.g. an itch to travel.
3.  A disease of the skin caused by old people’s poor hygiene.
4.  STD Grandpas caught from boning “Injuns.”

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Old Man Word 91: Miserly

Old Man Word 91: Miserly

Lobster aren’t indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.  They tried to come up this way but ran into our crap crab population.  Lobsters were all “don’ mess wit’ us southies” but the crabs were wearing socks with sandals which scared the lobsters half to hell.  Lobsters turned lobster-tail and left.  If the lobsters had fists they would have bunched them up and shook them angrily at the crabs but they don’t so they didn’t.

This is a round about way of saying I have never cooked lobster.  Word on the street, however, is that lobsters brought to boil in a pot engage in odd behavior.  Once they figure out the heat is on the ‘sters will attempt to climb from the pot.  But if one lobster gets close to escape the other lobsters will reach up and claw the over-achiever back in.  If there’s one thing that angers a lobster more than being boiled alive in a pot of water it’s the thought of one’s fellow lobster not being boiled alive in a pot of water.  So they all end up dead.

(This is the true meaning of the phrase “lobsters in a pot” by the way, it’s not a euphemism for being “boiled alive.”)

If you’re like me you’re probably feeling a little superior to the lobsters right now; damn selfish lobsters.  But lest we get to feeling too superior, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

In their native environment, strippers have been known to call other strippers “sluts.”

It is not entirely unheard of for the Wal-Mart set to describe their fellow double-wide dwelling brethren as “white trash.”

Old people will unabashedly describe others as “cheap” while standing in line at the Old Country Buffet.

In other words humans, like lobsters, take great delight in pulling folk down to their level.  And nobody does this better than the timers.  Indeed timers so love calling someone cheap they’ve invented hundreds of words to discern the type of cheapness they’re pissed about.  They call people penny-pinchers.  They say big words like penurious and tight-fisted.  They’ll even risk the black folk ire by using words like “niggardly.”  They love calling people out as cheap!

In fact, most scientists now believe that old folks’ obsession with thrift exhausts their ability to undertake tasks we take for granted; such as remote-control consolidation and the wiping of white junk from the corners of their mouths.  Pretty good theory all things considered.  Do you have another theory to explain why old people purchase stuff like the “Jitterbug” here:

The only cell phone that has fewer features than a normal phone.

The only cell phone that has fewer features than a normal phone.

Let’s face it, the boys at Phone Tech deserve a medal for dreaming up this little shenanigan.  Each of those three buttons is carefully calculated to lure the elderly in…

First, old people think of an operator button like you and I think of candy-cigarettes.  Pure nostalgia.  Back in the day timers spent their afternoons chatting with Dolly at the at the phone company about laundry soaps and washboards.  Of course Dolly is now Daulananja from Bangledesh but old people don’t know that.

Second, throwing a “tow” button in front of an old person is almost cruel.  Cruel but effective.  No one who owns a Jitterbug can drive.  But everyone who owns a Jitterbug wishes they still did.  That little tow button?  Makes em feel young again.  Score two for the Jitterbug marketing wizards.

Third, 911 is crack to the elderly.  Old people spend half their lives making sure their’s some sort of button or lever or switch they can reach that will instantaneously dial 911.  Your grandma can be ninety years old and live on a farm fifty miles from the nearest town.  911 is — to her — zero percent faster than calling the doctor.  But she cuts her hand on a bottle of metamucil and guess who she’s calling?  911.

The point being this crass little product was perfectly designed to lure in the elderly.  But even old people could resist its charms if they weren’t spending 100% of their energy thinking about them cheap buggers next door what run off with their fishing poles.

Alas.  They do.

Miserly. Adj.

1.  Sordid; niggardly; parsimonious.
2.  Word that takes the place in the brain of common-sense in the elderly; thus leading to purchases of Jitterbugs.

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Old Man Word 92: Reader

98.4% of the populace defines a story as a “fictional narrative recounting a series of people and events” and readers as “persons who read.”   The remaining 1.6% are old people.  Old people think “stories” are daytime television shows that overuse the word hope.  I’ll cover that mumbo at a later date.  This post is all about the old timers’ infuriating use of the word “readers:”

Readers. n.

1.  One who reads.
2.  Generic name for the Dr. Dean Edell brand ‘reading glasses’ sold by Rite-Aid.

Two issues.

First, don’t buy medical devices at a store called “Rite-Aid.”  The word that sounds like “right” can be spelled three ways: right, write, and rite.  Right means correct.  Write means to pen or author.  Rite means a ceremony or a series of acts.  The final spelling — the one they used — only makes sense if they’re marketing to a cult that worships Russell-Stover mallow treats and Weanie Babies.

(Actually … it does make sense).

Second, props to Doc. Dean but he’s not an ophthalmologist.  I haven’t been to medical school but I’m purtty sure they don’t teach the delicate skills necessary to grind lenses.  Maybe it’s a pastime of his, what do I know.

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Old Man Word 93: Whippersnapper

There was no reason for me to do whippersnapper. Everyone knows what it means. I tried about forty different ways and none worked. Screw it:

Whippersnapper. n.

1.  A person regarded as insignificant and pretentious.
2. A young person.
3. You.

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Old Man Word 94: Gas

Old Man Word 94: Gas

The eld think it’s cool to use the word “gas” in place of the word “fun.”  Anything an old person thinks is cool must, by implication, be the opposite; that is, lame.  Thus if you hear someone describe something as a “gas” you may properly conclude that:

a.  The event is lame; and

b.  The speaker is lame.

Indeed, the word is one of only two that fall in the category “Words that Induce Feelings Directly Opposite to the Word’s Intended Meaning and Cast Aspersions on the Speaker by Virtue of the Speaker’s Use of Said Word.”  The other word in this camp is the word “hip.”  Hip isn’t technically an old-man word but it is highly suspect as an affirmation of coolness.  After a comprehensive analysis I have determined that anyone who calls something hip is too out of touch to be capable of rendering judgment about the hip/coolness of anything.

If this is too complex for you please review the following dialogue from my new play “Hopeless Bores“:

Lady:  I like those shoes on you.

Man:  Why thank you.  I think they make me look hip.

Lady:   That is impossible.  Your use of the word ‘hip’ renders you incapable of being hip.  You are not hip.

Man:  Very astute.  But cannot the same conclusion be made of you in light of your use of the word hip vis-a-vis me?

Lady:  Point well taken.   Our mutual use of the word hip indicates that neither of us is, indeed, hip.

Man:  What about the shoes?

Lady:  The fact that we who are not hip believe they are hip is strong evidence they are not hip.

Man:  I will put them back.

Okay look, the dialogue is a little stiff but you get the point: calling something hip means you — and it — aren’t.

The same is true of the word gas.  Once you say something is a gas, the immediate connotation is that you are a dork (therefore incapable of knowing if something is a “gas”) and the event is stodgy and horrible (thus it is not a “gas”).  Here’s an example, from the elders of rock themselves, the Rolling Stones:

Jumpin jack flash, its a gas! gas! gas!
Jumping jack flash, its a gas
Jumping jack flash, its a gas
Jumping jack flash, its a gas
Jumping jack flash, its a gas

Has there ever been anything that sounds less like a “gas” than whatever the hell this jumping jack flash thing is?  I’m not sure what they were trying to accomplish but after hearing that song I have absolutely no intention of jumping with the jack flash, jumping in a jack flash fashion, jumping over whatever the fuck jack flash is or engaging in any activity that requires me to jump, jack, or flash. 

Maybe if the Stones said the jumping jack flash stuff was “awesome” I’d do it but, alas, they didn’t.  They called it a gas. 

And gas is old man talk.  

And old man talk sucks.

Gas. n.

1.  a fluid (as air) that has neither independent shape nor volume but tends to expand indefinitely

2.  gasoline ; also : the accelerator pedal of an automotive vehicle

3.  old man word intended to indicate pleasure or delight but which, by virtue of the disrepute of the speaker, is probably really terrible or boring (e.g., we had a gas at that trout expo, didn’t we Gertrude?)

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Old Man Word 95: Sam Hill

Old people truly despise this guy Sam Hill.  Of course — in typical old man fashion — they have no basis for their ire.  Some folk think he was a guy who ran for office in the 1700’s (a durned politician!)  Another Sam Hill was an advocate for “good roads.”  (Some kinda do-gooder!)  Nobody actually knows.  But facts have never stopped the elderly from getting angry and poor Sam Hill is no exception.   Whoever he was the consensus is clear:

He was the devil.

That’s right, “Sam Hill” is old man for the devil or hell.   The most common context of the Sam Hill derision is the phrase “what in Sam Hill” which basically means “what the hell?”  Some of the brassier old timers will sass things up with the occasional “where in Sam Hill” which roughly translates to “where the hell?”  Of course even among the elderly you have your fringe incontinents who take it too far and thus you end up with the altogether cheeky “who in Sam Hill?”  You can recognize this gauche lot by their efforts to squire old widows and their insistence on adding salt to their mashed potatoes.

Why old-timers gotta confuse things by saying “Sam Hill” may seem a mystery but probably stems from their annoying habit of obfuscating everything.  Old people suffered far too many cuffs on the ears to say cusses like “hell” so they gussy it up with prattle like “Sam Hill.”   It’s irritating but that’s par for the course.

On to the definition:

Sam Hill. n.

  1. Euphemism for hell or the devil; used to add emphasis to expressions of outrage, e.g., “what in Sam Hill?”
  2. Way for old people to pretend they aren’t swearing.

One final note: Don’t go off sliding “Sam Hill” into every sentence where you’d normally say hell.  Even an old man will think you’re a durned fool if you say something like “give em’ Sam Hill” or try to polite up AC/DC’s classic tune by calling it “Sam Hill’s Bells.”  Just stick with the stock phrases and try not to heap more scorn on poor old Sam Hill.


Short post today, sorry.  It’s my birthday and I decided to spend it watching a documentary on “Le Cirque.”  An exceptionally weak documentary in case you care.

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