I can't exactly say that I’d like to go back and relive the era of the 60’s. Then again, right now I’m experiencing a different era of the 60’s. Between the two I’ll take the first one --- cannabis-stained knuckles, fingers, andhands, hands-down!
It seems incredible that’s it’s been over 40 years since those days of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, and for me, well, two out of three wasn’t bad. Much has changed in our culture since then, including our language. Many of the old phrases are still around, but the meanings aren't quite the same.
Far Out!--- Once an exclamation of excitement, wonderment, and radical possibilities. Now for many Boomers, a belt size.
Roach Clip--- Once a tweezers-like holder for marijuana cigarette remnants. Now the realization that your exterminator has overcharged the hell out of you.
Right On! --- Once a cry of solidarity and brotherhood. Now a shout out that your chip shot on the 11th has managed to trickle on up to the green.
Establishment --- Once the power, the Man, the established order you had to fight. Now the hot corner bistro you can’t afford.
Oh Wow! --- Once an exclamation of joy and exhilaration. Now an apt response when you open your cable bill.
Dope --- Once as in “This is really good shit, man.” Now as in “This man really doesn’t know shit!”
No. 9--- Once an enigmatic phrase in a John Lennon authored recording by the Beatles. Now the second and generally one of the weaker jokes in a Letterman Top Ten List. Power to the People! --- Once a cry for freedom, justice, and equality. Now the option to select your electricity supplier.
Getting Off Now --- Once the pleasured sensation that a drug experience was about to begin. Now an exhausted goodbye to your co-worker as you exit the 6:15 out of Center City.
Heavy--- Once a heart-felt designation of relevance and truth. Now just about anything we Baby Boomers try to lift.
In thinking back to the Sixties, much of the language we spoke was indeed self-indulgent and pretentious. But a lot of it was more like Yiddish; that is, able to express thoughts and feelings in a word or phrase for which there was no equivalent in English, or anywhere else.
And with all its foibles and excesses, there was no equivalent - and never will be - for the 1960’s. ~~~~~~~~~~~~