Friday, September 9, 2011

It's Party Time!

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?


  1. Still love a good live concert : but don't need to over indulge to enjoy it. Heck now I even remember the song list. Although, I found it embarrassing taking my 15 yr old daughter to see Sheryl Crow at Centenial Terrace and having to explain to her why there were a bunch of drunk 50 somethings pretending they were 20 somethings. Sorry folks, it just isn't that pretty at fifty, despite being fun at 20!

  2. GMicham (Gwen): Yeah, I'd prefer to remember the set list now, too. And probably best if you don't mention any of those high school parties--a few at which I clearly remember you--to your daughter... Glad you stopped by here tonight!

  3. Victims of circumstance - love it.

    Does it count as a party if coffee is served?

  4. I knew I was old when I'd realized I'd rather buy a CD than go see Metallica when they were in town. 'Course, I still miss Jason . . .

    I'm still moshing, though it's a little different at a Wiggles concert. More catch and release, really, as the toddlers bounce off your shins.

    When I was growing up, 'Rad' was rad.

    But I don't miss "cool beans' at all.

  5. The great thing about being an older mom is the vernacular I used as a youth will eventually make a comeback by the time my daughter is a teen. I'm predicting the comeback of the word, "cool" which has never really left mine.

  6. Downith: It counts as a party if LOTS and LOTS of coffee is consumed. And speaking of being a victim of circumstance, why do I have these random wikipedia links showing up in this post and your response? How did they get here and how do I get rid of them?!?

    Sarah: You are totally rad just for taking your kids to a concert, even if it is the Wiggles. But I have to admit to loving "cool beans."

  7. Words that have looooong gone un-used? Dime bag, roach clip, Boone's Farm Country Kwencher and Strawberry Hill, beer bong, we don't "cruise Broadway" anymore, and there's definitely an ix-nay on the par-tay! I can't remember the last party I went to. We have dinner on the patio. What dullards!!

  8. Laughing Mom: Ha! When I was talking to one of the new college students in my office yesterday, I must have said the word "cool" ten times. It became so obvious I actually called myself out on it. I'm guessing she doesn't think I'm so cool now... Love your blog, and thanks for connecting here!

    Teri: Oh, Boone's Farm! And Mad Dog 20/20! I'd like to say I miss them both--but not so much. Dinner on the patio definitely does not make you a dullard. I'm guessing you're so fun that the party still follows you.

  9. Mad Dog 20/20. And Everclear. Yikes! I don't miss them so much.

  10. Well, yeah, there was that partied you missed back in August.

    OK, so it wasn't as much "partying" as it was "standing around eating with a drink in your hand, while an occasional cornhole game broke out."

  11. Ah, man! I still use the word party, but not in the get completed wasted, wake up somewhere unfamiliar term. Now I use it as in "Dear lord, don't let me have another late night food party like that. I gained three pounds!" or "Let me put on some Sarah Vaughn. I need to have myself a decent pity party."

    For me the words have morphed. Like "wasted." Now it's not the equivalent of drunk. It's more like "Who wasted what was left of the milk by leaving out on the counter all night?"

  12. Bluz: Well, technically birthday parties (and graduation parties) are an entirely different category. But based on the photos you posted of the refrigerator, I'll give you points for this one.

    Lisa: HA! Yeah, those damn pity parties. Wish I could find a way to get myself off the invitation list...

  13. Yesterday I heard my girlfriend say to her husband, "Are you talking smack?" I've used it three times since then. I'm definitely in denial of my middle age.

  14. Sometimes I ask my kids, What's the haps, yo?

    Big eye rolls, and please to never speak in the presence of their friends.

  15. Pleas! Not please. Jesus. My kids may have a point.

  16. Working with teenagers I had to keep up with a lot of wacky vernacular so now I am proud to say that I now longer say "what up dog" on a regular basis. Many words have disappeared from my vocabulary but the one that has made the final exit is bikini.

  17. I'm only 30, and in recent years my husband and I have taken note that when we go to "parties," we tend to gather in groups of reasonable adults who play games like Apples to Apples and drink responsible amounts of wine.

    One of my oldest friends, someone with whom I have DEFINITELY "partied" with (oh the stories), recently looked up from our quiet girls' night in of playing some card/board game to muse, "What exactly did we do at parties before we started playing these games?" I was like, um, hello: drank until we were stupid?

    I can't say I entirely regret leaving (most of) those days behind, though. Plus, now I'm improving my Bananagrams skills!

  18. Averil: "Please to never speak in front of their friends" actually made perfect sense. And oh, how I've experienced that eye roll. I surely would have witnessed it from Son #2, when I used the words "fo sho" if we'd been skyping instead of texting.

    Bobbi: I'm proud too--and greatly relieved--that "What up dog" has dropped from your vernacular. Let's just write that off as a hazard of the job, shall we? And what exactly is a "bikini" again?

    Laura: Apples to Apples is my new favorite! (A close tie with my perennial fave, Scrabble.) But WTH? You reference "oh the stories" but you don't SHARE any of them? I'm calling you out on that right now. Do tell, please.

  19. MSB: Oops.. how did I miss your comment? If I were talking smack, I'd probably have to take aim at myself. Because I'm not as hip--and clearly not as aware--as I'd like to think...

  20. The guys I work with have this game where we intermingle stupid business terms with slang from days gone by (not even necessarily our days). For instance, "That's how I roll, I take the thirty thousand foot view." "Chillax, my brother. Net-net, it'll all work out." "Stop being a pussy." Oh, sorry. That last one is let's say, a term of endearment, an inspirational phrase I use.

  21. Lyra: "Chillax." Hmm, I hardly ever roll that way. Not so sure the guys I work with do either. But I might have to try that out tomorrow at the office. If they roll their eyes, I'm blaming you.

  22. Anon: OK, I'm thinking I want to party with you, Anon, whoever you are...