Stevieslaw: In the Colorful Language of the Fifties

Stevieslaw: In the Colorful Language of the Fifties
Although my father and mother and uncles and aunts hadn’t a single high school diploma among them, they were often wise in the way of the world. And while some of the things they said would curl the hair of most of us and are best left in the dustbin of history, some of their expressions were richly descriptive and right on. Perhaps, we might revive one or two of them.
For example, we refer, over and over and over, to the richest Americans as the 1% and speak of millionaires and billionaires as if they were close personal friends soon to arrive for tea. Boring!
My mom would casually call them “the filthy rich.” And though the word was not really intended as an expletive—she was not making bombs in her bathroom and didn’t know or care to know how the rich lived, no one would have to explain to my Aunt Viola what my mother meant.
That was in the fifties—when the filthy rich still paid taxes. In the fifties, before a hundred filthy rich families were poised to buy a Presidential election. How much more appropriate that term seems now. I say we revive it. Revive it and perhaps our children’s children will not be addicted to watching the 1% parade their assets on reality TV. Perhaps, they will be more interested in growing up to be Jonas Salks than Martin Shkrelis. Or perhaps not. But “filthy rich” takes me back to my mom’s small apartment, the never-ending card game, the never empty coffee pot and the parade of relatives and friends that never felt the need to knock. Also, saying filthy rich makes me grin. Try it.

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