Beyond the Byline: What’s that you say?

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
Bill O’Boyle -

WILKES-BARRE — Those of us who are not millennials will appreciate the email I recently received from my friend, Stefanie Wolownik.

It’s a collection of words and phrases that we all grew up with, were threatened with by our parents, and that we have laughed at over the years.

Although I couldn’t uncover who authored this gem, I’m sure it’s been circulating on the Internet for quite a while.

Most of the words and phrases are etched in my memory bank forever. Reading them again gave me pause to recall a few others I heard from my parents.

“Don’t you cry, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” my mom often said.

“Which one do you want, Mercy Hospital or sudden death,” dad would say while brandishing his fists.

“Keep it up and I’ll knock you into next week,” he would add.

Please note that dad never struck me, but his “threats” seemed very real — so much so that I rarely got into any real trouble.

Anyway, this email starts off with the word “Mergatroyd,” as in “Heavens to Mergatroyd.”I’m sure the phrase has a much more historical origin, but the best way I can recall it was watching cartoon character Snagglepuss — a regular on the Yogi Bear Show in the 1960s — who repeated the phrase often.

From Mergatroyd we go to “jalopy,” which is what we called any old, junky looking car. And the author of this trip down memory lane would be quick to tell anyone who has never heard of jalopy not to worry because everything, after all, is hunky dory.

Now keep reading — don’t touch that dial. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but Heavens to Betsy, gee whillikers and jumpin’ Jehosaphat, don’t hang me out to dry.

Did you get all that? Can you hear me now?

If you did, then you’re in like Flynn and living the life of Riley. Don’t call me a knucklehead or a nincompoop — not even for all the tea in China.

Then the author offered this:

“Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers.”

Got me to thinkin’ about everything. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Want to put your two cents in? Go ahead, it’s your dime, but don’t pull my chain. But ya gotta admit, we’ve all heard these words and phrases since we were knee-high to a grasshopper. But don’t take my word for it and be sure not to take any wooden nickels — wake up and smell the roses, why don’t ya?

Like the author said, there are probably more of these words and phrases than Carter has little liver pills.

“We, of a certain age, have been blessed to live in changeable times,” the author wrote. “For a child, each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We, at the other end of the chronological arc, have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging.”

Like the author said, makes you wonder in 2018 where Superman would find a phone booth to change from mild-mannered Clark Kent into a superhero.

And I won’t even get into those words and phrases of the 1960s — cool, neat, groovy, uptight, alright, outasight and in the groove. You’ll have to grease my palms to get me to talk, or you’ll be behind the 8-ball, for sure.

Dare I go on?

Just chill out on Cloud 9. Don’t be a rat fink, or you’ll be cruisin’ for a bruisin’ for sure. Are you having fun yet? Just enjoy the read, man. You’ll be cooking with gas. It’s pretty nifty. It’s not rocket science, ya know. Have a blast.

See ya later, alligator. In a while, crocodile. Now burn some rubber and get outta here. Okie dokie

Any questions? What, are you writing a book? Maybe somebody should.

Peace out.

Bill O’Boyle O’Boyle

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]