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.