I’m visiting my parents in Florida this week (follow my Instagram stories for all the behind-the-scenes snaps), and all of their adorable senior speak is rubbing off on me! I just want you to know that if I come back to Texas and tell you that you are “fresh” it does not mean you are young and perky, unfortunately. (See below for the meaning.) In fact, when we were little, we got spanked for being “fresh.” Just sayin’.
If you are one of the fortunate empty nesters that still has parents living, then brushing up on senior speak is something tangible you can do to strengthen your connection with them. While it can be a both a privilege and a challenge to be a part of the “Sandwich Generation,” (people who are both caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children), learning their lingo can provide a fun way to bridge the age gap. If you’re like me, your parents are a part of the “greatest generation,” a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw as the title of his 1998 book of the same name. It refers to the group who grew up during the deprivation of the Great Depression, went on to fight in World War II, and build modern America into what we are today. They are an amazing, tough-as-nails, wise group of people. Basically, they make us all look like wimps.
You may have read my posts, about must-have millennial vocab, and the follow-up, Lingo to Learn Before the Kids Come Home. In those posts, I shared how Bob and I were trying to improve our state of (blissful?) ignorance regarding our young adult children’s vocabulary and thus up our cool factor in their lives. Okay, I’m lying. Actually, we were trying to use their oh-so-hipster vocabulary against them and make them squeal with disgust and mortification. I want you to know that we have been quite successful, and it has gone on record as one of the biggest accomplishments as empty nesters! In the spirit of continued growth and learning in the empty nest, I encourage you to put on your cheaters (reading glasses) and read on as we tackle must-have senior speak vocab.
By Jingo – As you can tell from the title of this blog post, this is an introductory statement telling you to get ready because something epic is about to be shared.
Oh, For Heaven’s Sake – This is NOT a religious reference, apparently. This is an interjection used to express astonishment. It means something like “Well, how about that?” My parents use this a lot when we discuss the internet and social media. (Also, similar are “Lawsy” and “Mercy.”)
Hot Spit – This term is not what it seems. It has nothing to do with bodily fluids or temperature. It basically means “no big deal.” It is usually used descriptively about a person who thinks they are just ALL THAT. Please note: this person could also think they are the “Bee’s Knees.” Just so you know, I asked Siri if bees have knees, and she is currently checking for that on the web.
Horsefeathers – As you have probably figured out in the one second since reading that word, horses don’t have feathers. This word means ridiculous nonsense. Other similar terms include “claptrap” and “Tommy rot.” This is for sure what your parents think about your midlife obsession with Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Snapchat.
Ninny – This is probably what your parents call you behind your back for your midlife obsession with Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Snapchat.
Cute as a Button – This is a descriptive term that grandparents usually use about their grandchildren no matter what age they are. I’m pretty sure they never used this term about their own children. Just sayin’. BTW, I never knew buttons were cute. Huh. Also similar, “cute as a bug in a rug.” Again, did not know bugs in rugs were considered cute. Usually, I just call the exterminator when I see them. I am learning a lot.
Dressed up like Astor’s Pet Horse – This descriptive term is not a compliment. It means you are overdressed, and you do not “look like a million bucks.” The phrase is a reference to the Astor family, who were a part of the wealthy social elite in NYC during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Apparently, they were extravagant spenders and quite ostentatious. So, pretty much the Kardashians of that time period.
Loose – This is a descriptive term for a girl of, um, loose morals. Sometimes things are just what they say they are, let’s face it. This girl may or may not also be “brassy” – which is a tough chick. Think Madonna.
Skinny as a Rail – This is what we all used to be when we were in our teens. Remember those days?
Dumb as a Doorknob – Descriptive, and again, pretty much what it seems.
Hoover – This is a verb, meaning, “to vacuum.” Do not try to get fancy by saying you are going to “Dyson” or “Dirt Devil” or “Shark” in place of this. That will just confuse your parents.
Icebox – Contrary to what you might think, this is NOT the freezer, which is the actual box where the ice is kept. This refers to the entire refrigerator/freezer unit.
Cough It Up – This is what my mom said she would try to do when I asked her to come up with a list of senior speak terms for this blog post. Just to clarify, there was no coughing involved.
“Fresh” or “Sassy” – This is how my mom kept referring to herself as she gave me her list of terms. She is extremely adorable.
What are some of the terms your parents use? I’d love to know. By jingo, we’re all in this together, and we need to help each other out, friends.