I am a member of a disadvantaged class of language users. I, and my contemporaries, were born too late to get any real use out of the term “groovy.” I was under 10 years old and it just sounded stupid when I said it. The same goes for the knack of tacking the suffix “man” onto a cool word or phrase such as: “groovy man” or “I got hassled by the pigs, man.” “Pigs” were policemen and my Mom would have committed violence upon my skinny hide had such an impertinence ever reached her ears.
It always seemed like I was about year or two past cool when I picked up a piece of slang. It was kind of like how fashion gets to Alabama. I remember my Dad taking me with him to a recording session when I was 12 or so and he was slightly younger than I am now. I heard him say that something was “unreal” earlier in the week and I thought how lame it sounded. When he used it at the studio in response to some successful take of a song – bang! – instant grins of approval from the other folks there. What the….? It seems I had no sense of rap then either.
Now my misuse of coolisms is mostly restricted to intentional embarrassment of my children when their friends come over. Last years’ code words are met with grimaces or pity. I know they are sorry they ever made a “your mom…” retort in my presence because I find a use for that one almost daily. I wonder if the prophet who warned “woe to those who call bad, good” had any idea how Michael Jackson, with one glove tied behind his back, would take that linguistic faux pas to stardom. All kidding aside, your mom has one glove tied behind her back.