Hey, You Guys…


What’s going on, you guys? So, what have you been up to? You guys want to meet at the Courtyard, then go over to Bobby D’s? Cool. I’ll be there at 9:00…

The Courtyard was an old bar with nightmarish acoustics because of the large pool, located in the Ramada Inn. It’s not in this photo of Binghamton, NY; it’s off to the left a little, across the river. Bobby D’s was a swanky roadhouse sort of bar that didn’t have much better than a dirt floor, it was so filthy. It was kitty-corner to that building with all the columns on the left, do you see it? The out of town, top-40 bands would play the Courtyard, and the rock bands would play Bobby D’s. Back in the early 1980’s, you could go out 6 nights a week and catch a live band. Ah, those were the days.

Too old now to even stay up past 8:30 during the week – and not minding it a bit – I got to thinking about phrases. You know, the ‘local’ phrases. Well, it’s not only phrases, but pronunciations.

I don’t think it’s a local thing, but maybe it is: It seems that anyone under the age of 25 has forgotten how to move their jaws, tongues and lips when they speak. Have you noticed that? It drives me nuts. They mumble to the point where it’s almost just plain grunting. What’s up with that?

I heard once that the way things are done changes every 60 miles or so. Living here in Arkansas, I’ve seen that first-hand. When it comes to phrases, I still say “you guys” and some around here say “y’all” as you’d half expect. (I suspect that the phrase is a bleed-over from Texas, along with the incredibly stupid armadillos that have migrated here.  I was here years before I actually saw an armadillo walking around instead of as flattened road kill. I got to wondering if they were born belly-up dead.) I get funny looks when I say to anyone of any gender, “you guys want to…”

I’ll never forget the night, working as an overnight cashier at Walmart, when my coworkers started going on and on about “Vie-ay-nee” sausages. I had no idea what they were talking about, but it’s a staple around here, according to them. Finally, one walked down the grocery aisles and came back with a small can of Vienna Sausages.

I have no idea who is pronouncing the name of the product correctly, me or them, since I call it Vee-enna, just like the city in Austria. I have yet to be able to say “vie-ay-nee” out loud. Just thinking about it sends me rolling on the floor in laughter. Even those pre-25-ers move their lips out of the way to say that word.

Well, maybe kids nowadays, at least around here, don’t move their tongues, lips or jaws when they speak because they are raised on vie-ay-nee sausages!  I might be onto something here.

I bought a can once. I opened it and saw the slimy little mini hotdogs floating in what, beef stock? I grabbed a fork, stabbed one of the slippery little …things…and popped it into my mouth.  The consistency itself was so disgusting that I had a hard time not spitting it back out right away, and fought the urge just so that I could get to the point where I could actually taste it. That was it, I spit it out. Even though the thing only suffered through one chomp, it came out of my mouth looking like I had gnawed on it for a good long time. Yeah, I have no doubt that kids nowadays get no exercise chewing and therefore their facial muscles go undeveloped, at least here in the south if those disgusting little hot dogs are a household staple.

There’s no way that I can say that upstate NY is “normal,” not by any stretch of the imagination. Then again, I can’t say that north-central Arkansas is either.



  1. I remember Vienna sausages! They really are teeny and came in a teeny can. I didn't think they made them anymore. I used to see tham in NYC shops as a kid (early 70s).

    I can't stay up too late either. We'll have to go to Bobby D's a little earlier :)

  2. Bobby D's is no more. It closed 20 or so years ago now. Same with the Courtyard. Neither place was quite the same in the daylight. ;-)

    Did you ever try one of those slimy little sausages? Yuck!

  3. Nope, people here just cant pronounce words correctly. I dont know why. Where on Gods green earth do they get "Petty Jean" ( like Tom Petty and the heartbreakers) out of Petit Jean which is French? Or SIR-SEE out of Searcy? What you can drop an A if ya wanna? Its no wonder that the rest of the world has thought of the locals as "dumb hillbillys" Add to that towns with names like Bald Knob and Toad Suck and Possum Grape and any remote thoughts of coming off as anything more go right out the window.

  4. Oh, I don't know... Those town names are unique, and it takes quite a few cajones to name a town Toad Suck and even more to live there! You gotta admire that.

    Those "dumb hillbillies" ain't so dumb either. They got you thinking they're dumb just so they can pull a fast one on you if they want to. It's no different than anywhere else really, in terms of how people treat non-natives.

  5. It seems that at the same time we are advancing in technology, we are also moving backward in self-development. There are some times when I was talking to youngsters and there things they were talking about, I was like, "huh? What was that you just mentioned." Perhaps, I'm getting on in age but then I believe that we should be able to mix with them without affecting the way we speak.

  6. I can't keep up with the lingo these days either. A friend of mine has teenagers, and I often ask her to translate for me!

  7. Raised in the South and moving around a lot in later years to different parts of the USA I always found the lingo of all those different locals very interesting and fun. Now when I'm sitting on the porch and I hear the teens talking I don't understand a word they're saying unless it's curse words because they're the same every where.

  8. Yeah, those curse words ring out loud and clear! I remember having favorite words like "cool" and "dynomite" in my teen years, but I don't think we ever spoke a different language. Nowadays, kids are inventing words instead of just changing the meaning of some. It's confusing!