Lots of little things suggest we're not as young as we used to be: Spying ourselves in some clearly malicious mirror. Deciding that sleeping until noon is more a waste of a precious day off than a constitutional right. Scheduling that colonoscopy.
But the signs aren't obvious only in how we look or what we do. They're also apparent in what we say--or more accurately--what we don't say.
For example, it seems I rarely find occasion these days to use the words "mosh pit." (Oh, I love that term, and I still dig a great concert; yet surprisingly few people dove into the mosh pit the last time I saw James Taylor.)
And I have never, not once, uttered the words "fo sho." (True Story: Stymied while trying to conjure up words people my age don't use, I queried my twenty-year-old son, without telling him why. After his suggestion, I wrote back, "Thx. That's perfect. Fo sho." Because that's the kind of hip and aware mother I am. He texted back, "God help us all.")
But most noticeably of all, the word "party" has practically disappeared from my vocabulary.
At one time--roughly age 14 to 24--"party" was a mainstay of my vernacular.
It showed up liberally in everyday conversation, particularly in the form of a plaintive plea: "Anyone having a party this weekend?" And "party" was an equal opportunity word. We were also fond of using it as a verb, as in "Hey, we have an algebra test next period. Want to go out to the parking lot and party instead?" We employed various derivatives, too, the most popular being the noun describing a person, such as "Yeah, man, he's a cool teacher. I heard he's a partier."
Oh Lord, the parties where we partied in my youth. From the one which the local news station came to cover (my ex-boyfriend's) to the one at which the front door was broken in (my sisters' fiasco) and the repair fund raised from helpful party-goers was stolen just before my parents arrived home.
I was totally an innocent bystander at those. But later, when I was voted Best Party Giver in our school newspaper just before graduation, my perplexed mother asked, "When did you have parties?"
Figuring I had little to lose anymore, I shrugged and replied, "Every night you were gone."
(This was the SEVENTIES, people. Have you ever watched That Seventies Show? Even the good kids partied around the table in their basement, while their parents were home! I was thoughtful enough to wait for mine to leave, which practically makes me a saint.)
But those crazy years are just a memory. A foggy one, at that.
And few people my age have parties anymore.
Now, we "have people over" or we have a "get-together." When we do use the term "party," it's generally to describe a fully different event than those of our late teens and twenties. Most of the parties I hosted after my late twenties included a pinata, a case of juice boxes and a bunch of rugrats. Wild, yes, but nothing in which the local news seemed to take an interest.
And we seldom party in the same active verb tense anymore. Many of us haven't touched the wacky weed or anything in the under-the-counter drug family in years. Oh sure, we still imbibe in more than moderate amounts of alcohol from time-to-time. (When I say "we," I mean "you" not "me." Of course.) But we seldom say we partied too much. In my crowd, we prefer to use more sophisticated terminology, vaguely suggestive of our being victims of circumstance. We say we were "overserved."
We're still a fun bunch, post-thirty (or post-forty). We enjoy a good get-together, a few laughs, a few drinks. We just don't break down doors or draw nightly news coverage anymore. We may not say the P-word much, but damn it, we still know how to have a good time.
I'll bet we could party with the best of them, at any crazy party, if we tried.
That's fo sho.
What words have disappeared from your aging vocabulary? Been to any good parties lately? Do you still party like you're nineteen, or like you're forty-nine?