I Love it When You Talk Retro


I Love it When You Talk Retro: hootchie coochie, double whammy,drop a dim, and the forgotten origins of American Speech by Ralph Keyes is both a funny and informative book on the slang terms we use but have mostly forgotten where they originated from or what they originally meant.  It’s a great way to mystify the younger generation and their odd slang. Or at least odd to us old timers.

He also explains the origins of such common terms as drop a dime, which meant to inform on someone by putting a dime into an anynomous pay phone (anyone remember public pay phones?)

He includes a quote I love ” when playing twenty questions people will invariably start with Is it bigger than a breadbox? Which leaves me not knowing what to say, as I don’t know what a breadbox is or how big it is.  But everyone else seems to know, was I absent that day in class or something”  Which drolly sums up the situation.

Or the Washington DC high school teacher who asked her Junior class what Watergate was. And only three had a vague idea that it had something to do with Richard Nixon, but no one knew what it was or it’s ramifications.

Keyes writing is clear and concise and very funny.  He’s obviously done his research well on these obscure terms that we all use, but have no clue as to what they really mean, nor where they came from. Though some we know plainly, such as Rubensque, which means plump, voluptious from back in the day before anorexia became desirable.

It’s a great book for reading when you can’t just sit down and read a book from cover to cover, such as on a bus or etc. As it also reads well if you read a bit and then come back to it.

I Love It When You Talk Retro is Highly Recommended.

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