Monday, October 7, 2013

The Home for Outmoded and Obsolete Expressions

Like, it's totally tubular, man!

I was hugely privileged this week to be given a tour of The Home for Outmoded and Obsolete Expressions, a sterling model for America's new breed of linguistic care facilities located in the highly non-highly Philadelphia suburb of Havertown PA. 

I was hugely privileged this week to receive a tour of the Home for Obsolete and Outmoded Expressions, a sterling model for America's new breed of linguistic care facilities located in the Philadelphia suburb of Havertown. 

My tour guide was none other than the founder of the facility, eminent psychiatrist and powerful advocate for the past tense, Dr. Elizabeth Funt.

The building itself is nothing less than awesome! from the “Cat's Pajamas Dining Hall” to the “Solid Ted, Enough Said Residences” to the “Fucking-A Auditorium.” Dr. Funt explained to me how the inspiration for the facility first came to her several years ago.

"I was browsing in a dusty out-of-the-way bookstore, the kind that has way too many books by Carlos Castaneda," said Dr. Funt, "when I came across the term 23 Skiddoo in a broken-down thesaurus.  It was old and alone, huddled between twenty thousand leagues under the sea and twerp.

“I was heartbroken, especially when I saw the way twerp was cruelly pushing it around." 

Dr. Funt knew she had to do something and do it 23 Skiddoo! She reached out for funding to former beatniks who were guilt-ridden over having sold out and jettisoned expressions like Daddy O, Square, and Hepcat and established the Home for Obsolete and Outmoded Expressions.

Appropriately, Hepcat, Square, and the late 23 Skiddoo became its first residents.

"Yesterday's expressions are like fallen child stars,” Dr. Funt explained to me. "Think of nifty and groovy as Macaulay Culkin and David Cassidy, except without the cute haircuts and chronic drug and sex addictions."

Strolling through the hallways in the “Lay It on Me Living Quarters,” Dr. Funt introduced me to residents Far Out and Right On!, who share a room in the "Assisted Exclaiming Section"On the day of my tour, they were both enjoying a visit from a young volunteer who was pronouncing their names over and over in a well-studied, semi-defiant tone of voice.

"Sure I miss the days when I was in the mouths of every half-baked pseudo-revolutionary in the country," said Right On! "but the lasagna here is terrific." Far Out added that he does laps in the Olympic-sized pool every day, ironically enough "to keep my waistline from getting too far out!"

I was happy to learn that many currently popular words and expressions stop by to volunteer their time. Cool especially enjoys dropping in, no mean feat considering its breakneck schedule in common usage throughout the world today. 

"Most of the other words love it when Cool blows in," said Dr. Funt, "usually in a fast car with a good-looking gerund on its l

The day ended with an old fashioned hootenanny in the "Boss Ballroom." There they all were — fabled yet faded mainstays like Tubular, Hot to Trot, Funky, and Say What? — congregating and conjugating, mixing and modifying, and dancing and defining. As I left, Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose! was leading everyone in the hokey pokey, looking for all the world like a young John Travolta.

It did my heart good to see this wonderful new facility and the fine work being done by Dr. Funt. And of course it was great to see all those senior expressions alert, happy, and copacetic to the max!

I bid Dr. Funt “see you later, alligator,” and she slipped me some skin.

How about that?

Some of the residents are even beginning to make a comeback!



Anonymous said...

As a Pennsylvania resident who resides closer to Pittsburgh than Philly, I feel as though we are now mortal enemies based solely on the rivalry between the Pens and the Flyers.

Sounds like your tour went well though. I'd especially like to see the Fucking A Auditorium.

Perry Block said...

Not all that mortal. The Flyers and Penguins have the distinction of being two of the original six expansion teams in the days before hockey was so diluted that my blog is being considered for a team.

Pep rallies will be held in the Fucking A Auditorium. I don't expect we'll have capacity crowds. Thanks for writing, Adam!

N/A said...

I read this twice. I was sure you were fucking me with and this was an allegorical house. And then I was sure it was a real house and this woman just liked to spent money on quirky stuff and had a spark of genius. Then, I wanted a cupcake, but I controlled my urges.

This is interesting. We really do drop sayings by the wayside and move on--sometimes for the better (tubular is unfortunate, especially to my Midwestern sensibilities), sometimes for the worse (23 skidoo is silly).

Fucking A Auditorium. That is lovely. And I still say "Fucking A" to this day. :) Great post and fun idea.

Perry Block said...

Thank you, Lady J. Yes, of course I'm fucking with you! Dr. Lana Lewitzky and I love to do stuff like that.

Just seemed to me that the old and outmoded expressions had to be somewhere, I looked around, and here they be. Say, would you like to book the Fucking A Auditorium for your wedding?

Anonymous said...

You didn't happen to run into All That and a Bag of Chips while you were there, did you? I'm owed some money. I'd like to have your enforcer collect it for me and you can keep that as payment for the stolen tweet. It's a win/win.

Perry Block said...

Sadly All That and a Bag of Chips is in the old thesaurus having the shit kicked out of him by algorithm. Sad, but not every old expression can be saved. Even my enforcer is afraid of algorithm.

Russell said...

I think there's an empty room reserved for Bite Me somewhere in this nursing home for worn out adages.

Perry Block said...

Reserved but not yet occupied. Bite Me is still in the prime of life.