What I’m Saying…

Sometimes an idea or memory gets stuck in my head and, because there’s so much empty space, pings off every corner nonstop, and the only way I can get it out is to talk about it. Recently it’s been an expression I heard adults use when I was a kid: “like it’s goin’ out of style”. This was a simile used to say someone was doing something really energetically, which, if you’d asked me as a kid what it meant, that’s exactly how I would have defined it because I was a weird kid with much too formal diction. Anyway I’d hear an adult say something like, “Roger was eatin’ those crackers like it was goin’ out of style.” If that sounds bizarre, well, welcome to my world–I understood what they meant but there was still something really weird about the saying. Why would crackers, or eating them, go out of style? And if it was going out of style why would Roger want to eat a bunch of them? Was he eating up all the crackers before they got pulled from the shelves to make room for newer, more stylish crackers? It wasn’t just eating either. Raking leaves, washing the car, playing basketball–if someone was doing something really vigorously they were doing it “like it was goin’ out of style”.

At least “like it was goin’ out of style” was an expression I understood. An expression that completely baffled me was “going out of town”. As school wound down each year my friends would tell me their family was “going out of town”. What did that mean? We lived in the suburbs which, as far as I was concerned, was already out of town, since I thought of “town” as pavement and skyscrapers–what was, technically, downtown. My family went “on vacation”, which I understood because, even if we left town, we went to another town.

To get back to “like it was goin’ out of style” it occurred to me that I don’t hear that expression anymore, and haven’t heard it in a really long time. Like leisure suits and the nightmare-inducing live action shows of Sid and Marty Krofft it seems like it ended with the ’70’s. It should have gotten a final burst of use before disappearing but instead it seems to have faded away.

Unlike some of the relics of that era I think it’s an expression that needs a comeback so I’m going to start using it again. Every chance I get I’ll be using it really energetically, really vigorously. You know how I’ll be using it.

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  1. M.L. James

    Chris, I feel you, man! “I feel you” or “are you feeling me” expression seems to be making a comeback. I heard someone say that on an FBI episode this week and the other on a Law & Order (I think.) It could have been one of the Chicago’s I heard it on. Either way, I always wonder how it is one series ends up using he same expression or the same weird diagnosis as another series on the same week. I know, I watch too much TV and remember way too much of the wrong things. Ha! Have a great weekend! Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona, I definitely feel you on this. I mean I get what you’re saying. I dig what you’re putting down. There may be some mixed metaphors in there. Personally I’ve always enjoyed mixing metaphors–they’re like paint in that they give things an entirely different color, although saying they’re “like paint” is a simile. As you can tell I’m easily led down bizarre linguistic paths.

  2. Allison

    The one that has been taking up space in my head is “eat alive with”, meaning extremely – specifically, my father saying, “You are eat alive with smart-ass”, when he was exasperated with us for being well, you get it. I have started saying it as, “X is eat alive with dumb-ass.”

    Everything old is new again. Like it’s going out of style. In a New York minute.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Somehow I’ve never heard “eat alive with” but that’s a hilarious expression and now I want to start using it.


    Your blog posts are never goin’ out of style, Chris, and I hope all compliments get stuck in your very impressive mind.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3804: ComplimentsMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      You’re always stylish too, Ann, and, in an expression my friends and I who played Scrabble would use when someone came up with a very impressive word, “stylin'”. That, of course, was not a Scrabble word since apostrophes aren’t allowed.


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