Thursday, May 11, 2006

Z'up? Z'up.

Harry Truman's idea of a proper inquiry into one's health, combined with a friendly greeting, was:

"Good morning; how are you doing?"
"Good morning; I'm fine, thank you. And you?"
"Just fine, thank you."

That was the cultured and dignified way in his era. It's changed, at least on college campuses. We are now down to the "exchange it without slowing down or waiting for a full answer." Example:

"What's up?"
"What's up?"

Actually, what you hear is:


Gone are the days when you would serve tea from a silver pot and then inquire into the happenings of each other's day. "How have things gone today, Esther?" "Well, (on and on for five minutes)." Eventually, Esther pauses for breath and Agnes manages to get her foot in the door: "Oh, I know JUST how you feel. I ran into Mrs. Fusbottom (five minutes more)." The sun slowly drops 'neath the clothesline, the remaining tea leaves are fat and bloated with an afternoon of hot water.

I think I'll take "Z'up" over "How have things gone today, Esther?" anytime.


Anonymous ruthc said...

I think I'll take "Z'up" over "How have things gone today, Esther?" anytime.
You really would? I like the old fashioned ways, thank you. I liked it when there was the appearance of caring, at the very least.
Unless, of course, Esther is a total boor. Then all bets are off.

May 12, 2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

That's the problem; Esther went on for five minutes without taking a breath, as did Agnes. I like conversation, but if you have to wait interminably for the other person to pause for breath (and, having lived with such, it's amazing how they can do it), I'd rather have the passing "Z'up" and maybe catch up on things later.

We had a guy here who would take many minutes to get through an idea and, just when you thought you were free, free at last, would slip into another one on the turn of a comma. There wasn't even time for you to say, "I have to be going." When someone walked into the room, he would turn to entrap that person and Victim #1 would slip away. Victim #2 would escape when Victim #3 innocently strolled into the cobweb.

May 12, 2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Z' formation of words which this generation uses to replace those of earlier generations:

''Wot's happenin'''

''What's goin' on?'' (Mid-west, Michigan in particular)

'' What's shakin'? (Jerry Lee Lewis era).

'' Good morning Esther,and how are you on this fine day?''

The last one indicates a rather stoic relationship between these two, or like something my grandfather would say to his neighbor across the street, a neighbor of 53 years.

''Wot's up'' is neat among close friends, ''Wuzzup'' too, along with brothers and sisters. ''What's shakin''' is a term seldom heard in this century but occasionally we do run across someone who thought he was one cool cat in the 1950's, and never forgot it. This specimen also uses ''Later Gator''. He was also a Bill Haley fan.

May 12, 2006 7:28 PM  

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