When skinny was the truth and heavy was deep

T.S. Eliot once wrote, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” Yeah, right. Who knows that better than baby boomers … as Terry Hurley writes from San Francisco. Dig it.

I miss the language of our youth.

Jive is over, square is not hip, outta sight is long gone. Bad nowadays means good and sick means even better. What a bummer!

Growing up in the mid-1960s and ‘70s, we all had our own special lingo that was just for us kids. It was our shared language. Connections and friendships often depended on it.

Terry Hurley at his hometown by the Bay, San Francisco.

How we spoke to each other conveyed our moods and captured the tone of those two incredible decades. It helped shape us and played a role in constructing our identities during those awkward years.

We were starting to be self-sufficient, we were no longer just kids on the playground. It was the beginning of our passage from childhood to young adulthood. We were finally coming of age.

Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, the famous intersection where youth from all over the world came together in the 60s.

With our own unique language, we were expressing independence as we tried to put space between our generation and our parents’. For once, we were the experts.

Every generation has its own slang but come on man, ours was pretty cool.

It was language with an attitude. You could crash in your pad, take your wheels to catch some rays, split the scene if it was a drag, go ape if you got burned, chill after being bummed. Having bread for threads and kicks was sweet, rapping with your old man was a drag, being real usually wasn’t and it was lame to be tight with a jive turkey.

Terry Hurley

Far out, boss, and hip were cool. A blast and a gas were a lot of fun. Groovy was good, righteous was very good but outta sight was incredible. A downer and the pits were not.

Today we hear kids say lit (groovy), salty (ticked off), epic (gas), awesome (outta sight), turn up (getting down), heated (bent), sick (cool), and bounce (split).

Not bad I guess but not sure it compares to how we rapped.

T.S. Eliot was right of course yet I still miss the old voice. I have a thousand fond memories connected to those words and expressions. If language is the road map of a culture, what a journey we traveled. Can you dig it?

And remember, no matter what, keep on truckin’ and … don’t trust anyone over 70.


  1. Right on Terry! Those were the years. Every generation makes it mark on language and the culture, but I agree the 1960’s were special and so are the memories. Thank you.

  2. Lots of fun reading this, especially now with my interest in language. . .although I am willing to confess that some of our slang (“mod,” anyone?) could also be just as lame as some of today’s.

  3. And how nifty keeno that fake news, the alternate right, the concept of deconstruction or temper tantrums were not in our lingo. Lots of armbands, revolutionary fervor, comrades marching for progress. Miss those groovy days of copacetic wine and roses, bread and roses, and dreams of a cleaner, kinder, just world. Peace. 🙂

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