Service of Rip Van Winkle: Where Have I Been?

October 30th, 2023

Categories: Games, Language, Lingo, Parenting, Speaking, Talking Styles, Work

A child in bubble wrap.

Every once in a while I wonder, “where have you been, jb?” I’ve not budged from the most populous city in the country that many consider a trendsetter yet I’ve fallen behind and it’s time to catch up.

I’ll start with talking styles that irk

When I first heard Valley girl talk years ago I cringed and still do, though thank goodness its popularity has greatly faded. You know what I mean: at the end of sentences the pitch of the speaker’s voice jumps higher, forming a question mark. It’s also referred to as “uptalk.”

Only recently did I learn the name of a speaking style that I find even worse– “vocal fry.” I notice it most among women in their 20s and 30s. They lower their voices to achieve a gravely, creaky sound. It’s unattractive to me and achieves the reaction of nails on a blackboard but I suspect they think it sounds sexy. To quote a friend “it gives me the willies.”

This is whack

Do you know what that means? I won’t make you guess though it means what it sounds like it might—something or someone is crazy, unappealing or abnormal.

What about looking fly? If I said that to you would you smile?

Definition: Looking stylish or good.

Helicopter, Snowplow and Bubble-Wrap Parents

Even if you don’t know a helicopter parent, you may well have heard the term as it’s been around for quite a while. Under the same umbrella are snowplow and bubble-wrap parents I’ve not heard those descriptions in conversation.

According to Graham C.L. Davey, Ph.D. in an article in, snowplow parents are “the overprotective ones who ‘plow’ onwards before their child, removing everything in life that might be a potential obstacle before their child encounters them.”

His article was about parenting styles that fuel anxiety. “Well, maybe parents who swathe their children in protective bubble-wrap do have a lot to answer for when it comes to their offspring’s anxieties. We’ve known for decades that anxiety seems to run in families, with over 80 percent of parents of children with anxiety problems exhibiting significant levels of anxiety themselves.”

Coffee Badging

Here’s another term new to me. Google it and you’ll read from that it “refers to the practice of showing up at your physical workplace to interact with coworkers just long enough to establish that you showed up, before leaving to get your real work done from home.”

Any terms or concepts you’ve discovered lately? Were you familiar with these?

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6 Responses to “Service of Rip Van Winkle: Where Have I Been?”

  1. Martha Tepper Takayama Said:

    I can’t bear uptalk. I really haven’t heard the other terms except perhaps “whack”. I don’t’ find any of these expressions expressive or impressive or even minimally creative. They give of an air of impoverished language and thinking.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m glad you haven’t heard the super irritating vocal fry. You can’t miss it. Gives me chills!!!!

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Alas, I’m way out of sync, having heard none to minus of these terms. I can see where some may be irritating, but hardly enough to spoil one’s day!

  4. Deb Wright Said:

    Oh my! I know bubble wrap parents, or we used to say, helicopter parents, but the rest?? I am guessing coffee badging is showing up at work with a status coffee from a new and fancy coffee shop? But that is just a guess. The vocal fry is bizarre.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I hear some of the sayings as I walk around the city and look up what I don’t know when I have a moment. Others I hear on the radio. Fascinating how many language changes there are when we’re not looking.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m sure you’re correct about the expensive coffees. This is great for everyone who isn’t a receptionist, cashier, teacher, wait staffer, driver, etc. In the day,

    I’d never had had the nerve to coffee badge although I actually liked going to the office so might not have done so.

    Vocal fry is awful. Truly.

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