Monday, April 10, 2017

'Mooners Monday #7: The stuff the young kids are saying these days

Let's get this straight about The Honeymooners "Classic 39" episodes: As far as I am concerned, there are awesome episodes and there are great episodes. "Young at Heart" was one I long thought of as "merely" great. You  know, just stick Gleason in a funny outfit and let it go. Over the years, I have come to appreciate it more. For one thing, Gleason in a funny outfit is pretty cool, and Gleaosn on roller skates is also appealing.

What could possibly go wrong here?

My favorite part of the episode is the hip slang that Ralph throws around when he realizes he should make an effort to be young again as per Alice's desires. He starts throwing out phrases to Norton, much to his friend's amusement.

"23 skidoo!" "Vo oh de oh do." And my personal favorite: "Kiss you later. I'm eating a potato."

Norton laughs at these and says, "How can anyone so round be so SQUARE?"

I decided to research some of these quaint sayings, and I decided to do it as effortlessly as possible. That's right, I Googled them.

"23 skidoo" dares back to the early 20th century, and Wikipedia says one of the rough meanings is "getting out while the getting's good." I fully endorse this one and propose that we all try to revive it, even though it was apparently a relic even in the mid 1950s.

"Vo oh de oh do," according to some sources, was old British slang for money, or possibly just nonsense words used for scat singing, though an episode of Laverne and Shirley used it as a euphemism for...well, you know.

(I just raised my eyebrows in a suggestive manner, by the way.)

I am uncomfortable with Laverne and Shirley serving as the final word on any linguistic inquiry, so I am going to drop this particular slang expression even if it means I'll never be able to hang with the cool kids of the 1930s.

Now, HERE is my favorite yet most perplexing of the group: "Kiss you later; I'm eating a potato." I should note that Gleason of course says "potater" to help the rhyme, but also he botches the line. Also, I wrote it with a semicolon this time not because my research indicated that was grammatically correct, but rather because I thought it looked even funnier.

The only substantial references to this phrase connect to The Honeymooners, and frankly, I'm not about to go to a third page of Google results to dig deeper. I think we can only speculate as to where this one originates. Come to think of it, what does it even mean?

Is the speaker being considerate by not going in for a smooch with a mouthful of potato? Or should we think it's selfish of the orator to spurn a potential liplock in favor of an unglamorous, unsophisticated potato? What KIND of potato is it? Loaded baked? Mashed? Is it just a fry, and can you really call a fry a "potato" without offending a wanna-be kisser even more than by denying the embrace?

Is it some kind of coded message to the Illuminati?

If anyone knows whether this phrase was more than just something conjured up by the writers, please enlighten us in the comments. However, the mystery of it appeals to me as much of the rhythm of the words, so I intend to start slipping it into conversation when appropriate. The only problem is I might struggle to find appropriate spots, given that I have to be 1) offered a kiss and 2) eating a potato. Let's put aside my romantic status for a minute; my potato intake, like those of many of us in these carb-aware times, has decreased big time in recent years.

I may have to make some serious life changes in order to revive some of this classic verbiage. In the meantime, don't be alarmed if you don't see 'Mooners Monday next week. I may have to do it later if I happen to be eating a potato.

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