I was at Supermart one time, and when I went to check out – a burrito and one doughnut – the young woman at the register looked up from her cell phone at me and murmured, “Want a bag?” I thought for a minute and said yeah-sure-I guess so. She kind of smirked and said, “I guess you need it for your trash can.”


I mean, isn’t that how we reuse those? Saves money on buying trash bags, right? If not, they get all shoved up under the counter or someplace. That being said, I’m also the guy with a dozen old Smith’s reusable bags cluttering up the back seat and use ’em when I remember to. I guess it’s that waste-not-want-not thing that was ingrained in me growing up.

Frankly, I have nothing against plastic, but I remember when paper was king. You know … paper cups, paper straws, paper bags and, of course, paper newspapers.

Those thoughts were crossing my mind last Saturday, Earth Day. I’ve always held that farmers and ranchers were the original environmentalists and stewards of the land. But wouldn’t you know, 53 years ago – during that “dawning of the Age of Aquarius” era – along comes Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, calling for an environmental teach-in, or “Earth Day.”

But lo and behold, despite that, plastic began replacing paper, and at checkouts across the land, the question was, “paper or plastic?”

Of course, times being what they are now – looking at the trends up in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and who knows where – paper sacks are starting to replace those plastic bags.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind if we took a step back to what’s now referred to as old school stuff, you know, like brown paper sacks, cursive handwriting, stick shifts and conversing in more than 280 characters chocked full of abbreviations like FOMO, IMO or ICYMI.

I have such a hard time with new words and phrases that keep creeping into our vernacular that I have to go to Google to figure out what the heck people mean. I don’t know if you’ve heard these, but now cheddar refers to money, rides are sneakers, Gucci means cool, and salty means bitter.

Another new term many of us can relate to is a portmanteau of phone and snub, or “phub,” the practice of ignoring someone by texting or fiddling with your cell phone. Just stop it, please.

I guess if selfie and twerking can be actual words, so can those.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Every generation adds its own share of goofy words, and some get added to the dictionary.

Take my parents’ era; the 1940s. That decade spawned a lot of slang still used today, like gobbledegook, in cahoots with, above my pay grade, pass the buck and cheesy. On the other hand, nobody uses dame for a woman or calls a $5 bill a Lincoln. Likewise, the 50s and 60s graced us with a whole raft of new words nobody uses anymore, from beatniks to hippies to yippies, and then the yippies became yuppies.

In the 60s, The Beatles taught us that fab and grotty were words, and when Stevie Wonder sang “everything’s uptight…” he meant things were alright, but then uptight changed to mean someone was tense or flaberjoobled.

Some of us remember a time when people used to rap with one another. Having a rap session was right on, dude. Boy, has that slang word changed meaning.

Then we learned that when something was good, it was bad, and to confuse things even more, something that was really good was hot at the same time it was cool. Another word that gets thrown around all too casually these days is the one that refers to a female dog, a word that would’ve gotten my mouth washed out with a bar of soap in an earlier day.

Speaking of the grammar police, I’m wondering how did regular, everyday people know how to spell words before Samuel Johnson’s first English dictionary came out over 250 years ago?

The big deal Oxford English Dictionary came along in the 1880s; today, it’s over 21,000 pages and 600,000 words. Try handling that while challenging a word in Scrabble.

They say the English language now has something like a couple hundred thousand words that people actually use, and Spanish maybe half of that. I guess that’s because English has picked up words from German and Arabic, and who knows how many other languages that mean the same as a word we already use, including a ton from Spanish.

Speaking of which, Cinco de Mayo is only a week or so away, and that means we’re supposed to get the day off. Oh, my bad. I stand corrected. More on that later.