Monday, December 21, 2009

Whoa, Mama! Bring It Back!

I was listening to Stevie Wonder yesterday, his classic 70’s LP Innervisions and the song “Don’t You Worry About a Thing” came on. So I’m driving and grooving and the chorus comes on, “Don’t you worry about a thing, don’t you worry about a thing pretty mama.” The chorus stopped me and got me thinking, “Hey, you don’t hear people use that expression anymore, Pretty Mama?” and I expressed this to Eleanor. Eleanor then asked, why do you think expressions like “Pretty Mama” are no longer used? I replied, “I don’t know.” Then, I started thinking about other expressions that have either become obsolete or seldom used and this is theme of this post. “Old School” expressions/phrases that have either become obsolete or seldom used.

For some of us children of the 70’s, some things have yet to leave us 8-)! So, we got “Pretty Mama.” One of my favorite expressions from back in the day is “Foxy Mama!” It reminds me of the of the 70’s Blaxploitation film era and such pin up icons as Pam Grier in her title role as Foxy Brown.

The last time I actually heard the expression used was about 15 years ago when Mark Wahlberg’s character Dirk Diggler in the film Boogie Nights used the expression to describe one of his co-stars. Dirk sincerely said, “Yeah, she’s real foxy.” And as Dirk expressed that, I was nodding in the theater in affirmation and saying, “Yeah, she is foxy! What a great a way in which to describe someone.”

Next, we have the expression “Solid.” This is used to affirm instead of saying, “That’s right!” For example, I may say, “I’ll catch you tonight, brother.” And the guy to whom I am speaking would reply with, “Solid.” My Pops (dad) is as old school as they come and I’m happy and proud to say that he still uses the term “Solid,” when he and I converse. So, when I signed up for a Gmail account a few years ago and one of the e-mail address options that Gmail randomly provided me with was, I had to take it!

More expressions from my Pops: “Square Biz,” short for “Square Business.” Meaning- it’s true. My Pops and I will be talking and he will either preface what he is about to say with “Square Biz” or he will conclude and confirm what he just said, with “Square Biz.” For example, I bumped into Mack at the store and I hadn’t seen Mack in 10 years, square biz!”

“We Straight” meaning, we even, we ok. Let’s say my Pops borrowed something from me and he returned it, he would return the item then say, “We straight./?” My Pops uses the expression as a statement and/or as a question?

One of my favorite expression is “Right on!” I am single-handedly on a one man mission to try to bring this word back into everyday vernacular. I remember someone saying “Right on” to me about 15 years ago (What was it with 1994 and 70’s expressions?) and the expression brought a smile to my face because I hadn’t heard it since being a child in the 70’s. At that moment, I vowed to make it a part of my everyday vernacular and saying, “Right on” is now as natural as saying, “What’s up?” for me. I was having dinner with a friend of last summer and she was describing something that she had done and I nodded my head and said, “Right on!” She gave me a weird look and then a big smile and said, “I forgot how great of an expression that is. I’m going to start using it again.” All part of my plan to indoctrinate one person at a time. 8-)

Next is, “Dig.” As in, “Baby, I’m digging you, you digging me?” I like dig because it is cooler than “like.” Like, you know what I mean? Or would you rather say, “Ya dig what I’m sayin’” Or , you digging me?” I use “Dig” fairly often. It is right after “Right On” for me in terms of usage. But, it all depends on with whom I am speaking and the setting.

“Baby.” One still tends to hear it in some circles. And used in the proper context, whoa! It can be a perfect expression. This expression really depends on tone of voice and setting. I was on a flight with my family on British Airways and the flight attendant kept referring to my son Miles as, “Baby.” As in, “Baby, let me squeeze by you,” or “Here you go, baby” while handing him something. The manner in which the flight attendant used “Baby” was appropriate, but also her inflection and accent made the expression really nice to hear.

“Give Me Some Sugar.” As in, “Give me a kiss.” Still prominently used in the Southern U.S. Also can be used as a term of endearment. When I was back in Richmond, Va. this summer a friend of mine that I had not seen in years came up to me and said, “What’s happening, sugah?!” That expression was so apropos for that moment, especially considering who was saying it.

“Outta Sight.” Great expression, but I don’t hear it as much nor do I use it as much. I may have to start using this one.

“Flick”- a movie. I don’t hear this great term used anymore at all. For example, “I’m going to the Kit Kat Theater to go check out a flick!” Let’s all try to bring this one back!

“Gimme 5 or Gimme Some Skin- I still hear older people say, “Give me or Gimme 5” to younger people, usually children and this usually results in a hi-5. But, I never hear “Gimme or Give Me Some Skin” unless it is some real old school cat talking.

“Cat” As in What’s up, cat? What’s shakin’, cat?” Meaning- what’s up, man? What’s up, brother? I use this expression a lot with my close male friends. I have a good friend named Francois and he likes to refer to guys as cats and girls as kittens and sometimes he will say, “To all the cats and kittens out there, what’s shakin’,” That always brings a smile to my face.

“Muggs” As in there are a lot of mugs up in here!” There are a lot of people in here. Short, to the point, I dig the term.

Y’know, who knows why the above expressions are no longer in vogue? We all know that everything that is old becomes new again in some way, shape, or form and these words may find their way into everyday usage once again. Or, please do your part to bring a word or expression back if you dig it.

In the meantime, I’m sure there are many words/expressions that I overlooked, so please feel free to e-mail me or reply to my blog and share with me the word/expression that you think is outta sight!


Michael said...

Yeah, one that I've been using a lot the past year or so has been "Luv". And only to females! As in, "Thanks Luv", or reversed if you hold a door open for a lady and she thanks you. Then it's, "Your welcome luv". Probably my ever increasing need to be a bit more British!

HeavySoulBrutha DaveB. said...

Saw the film, "Black Dynamite" yesterday. It's gonna remind you of all the ones you missed. We'll check it out when you get back to RVA.