Mac, Buddy, Pal…

Once upon a time these were common salutations: Mac, Buddy, Pal, Chum, Charlie, Mister, Buster, Dude, before it went gender neutral, though I confess I still have a hard time with women being called dude.

I suppose there’s always Bro…

Now, if you use any of these on anyone younger than 60, expect quizzical looks and the attendant shaking of the head. That is, I suspect, the way it goes and should go. Time, the world, greetings, whether benign or malignant, die out with their generation.

But they do live on.

Since nothing is lost, with digitization and the like, though it may be forgotten or missed in the volume of so much created over time; it will wait and spring itself upon you when you least expect it. This happened to me as I was working my way through the classics of mystery and crime.

“Hey, pal, can I bum a smoke?” “What’s it to you, mac?” “Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime?” “That charlie? I’d keep an eye on that guy if I were you, mister.” And on and on.

The language of any period is expressed in its authors and allows any neophyte the opportunity to aggravate his fellows by appropriating the jargon of a bygone era. In this instance, a fedora is also useful. It’s also instructive when you watch movies and television as well. Although, it may not be as culturally attuned as you think. As a youth, I would occasionally cringe when the TV show I was watching would “blow it” by using the slang of the day in the wrong way. Total squares, man! But then hipsters had their own language that the squares were always mangling.

You gotta be hip to it, baby; know what I mean?

As you may have surmised, sadly, my time is falling away just as the mid 20th Century was in my youth. The 70’s are as far away now as the 30’s were then. This allows me to smug when I hear all these hip and happening new terms for that which never changes, but with fresh language will somehow finally be resolved.

Hip to it is now woke, but as the problems endure, one wonders what will replace woke once it becomes passe and the long struggle to make things right-however you choose to define right-continues.

Well, until the machines take over…

Completely.

We’ll talk about that next time. Wink, wink; nudge, nudge…

©2019 David William Pearce

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