OVERHEARD our two boys doing some impressions the other day.
They were clearly very good, because both of them were creased up with laughter.
Our Isaac, aged 10, put on a croaky voice and said: “I just don’t understand these gizmos.”
Bradley, 13, joined in. “What a load of old cobblers,” he laughed.
Isaac said: “What about ‘Just put your gogs on and jump in.’”
That last phrase got me. That’s what I say (gogs being swimming goggles, in case you were wondering). Hold on, I say all those expressions. They were doing impressions of ME?!?!
How the mighty have fallen.
There was a time when I was the go-to guy for everything. The boys looked up to me. They needed me. Who else was going to wipe their bums?
Today, I’m a figure of fun.
To be honest, I don’t mind. It’s the natural order of things.
Where once I strode the hallways of Ord Towers like a colossus in tweed slippers, I am now the living embodiment of the old days.
I’m past my sell-by date. Defunct. Obsolete. I’m as relevant to them as the video recorder. I am Dadosaurus.
They sigh and shake their heads when watching me trying to negotiate YouTube on the iPad, in much the same way I did when they first tried to tie their shoelaces.
They’re picking me up on almost every utterance.
To my boys, I’m like a 1940s Pathe News reporter wandering the house. I’m a walking fossil, punctuating the air with garbled Oldspeak.
Apparently we no longer video programmes. “It’s ‘download’, Dad.”
And we (and by ‘we’ I mean anyone under 16) never ask what “station” or “side” a TV programme is on.
“It’s ‘channel’, Dad,” our Bradley informed me. Which makes sense. There was a time when TV stations were like sides of a coin. You had BBC or ITV. Today there are hundreds of channels.
I asked Bradley if there were any other expressions I used which he found amusing.
“Stick a sweater on,” he said. “And ‘it’s a bit nippy.’”
“Enunciate your words,” was another. And “Heard any good albums recently.” Also, “Who’s been guzzling the milk?”
Okay, okay, I get it. Jeez … stick me in a museum why don’t you?
l NOT being one to miss an opportunity, I have added to the lexicon of Oldspeak with some made-up words.
For example, I told our Isaac that, in my day, we didn’t refer to socks as socks.
“Oh no, son, they’re Woolly Toe Bags. You know, bags to keep your toes in.”
That confused him.
Shoes were Lace-Sealed Leather Foot Boxes. And my particular favourite: “We didn’t say spectacles, son. They were Nose-Mounted Portable Windows With Retractable Ear Hooks.”
His head was spinning.
It’s the little things that get you through the day.
GOT your own Oldspeak examples? Unburden yourself by emailing Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweeting him at @DickyO. The best answers will be reprinted in this Flattened Tree Information Receptacle.