I’m So Square the Rest of the World is Hip

Before diving into today’s blog I will announce the “fake news” football bowls from my list of food-centric bowl games posted in the previous Andy’s Corner.

bowl game list graphic

Football Bowls (past and present) with names having something to do with food.  Did you figure our the two phony bowls?

Drum roll please: the two fake bowls are the Artichoke Bowl and the Spaghetti Bowl.  All of the rest on the list are (or were) legit college football bowls.  Congratulations for all of you who came up with the correct answer and condolences to those who did not.

Now, moving on to today’s blog, I will start with Ann’s admission that she is “hopelessly out of touch with current slang”.  She was referring to the Gen X and Millennial terms that are so baffling to those of us from earlier generations.  Just for the record, my previous blog on Generational Limbo offers some brilliant insights into this issue.

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 11.05.58 AM

While Ann may be blissfully unaware of current slang, it is clear that she knows at least a little about earlier forms of slang when she refers to Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp as the “trendiest, yummiest, hippest food item we have in our fridge or pantry.”

“Hippest”?   Seeing that word triggered memories of one of my favorite songs from my college days in the 1960’s  – the Chad Mitchell Trio’s The Hip Song (It Does Not Pay To Be Hip), written by Shel Silverstein.



I had forgotten how prolific and brilliant Shel Silverstein was.  Read more about him here.

When I was teaching I shared the lyrics to this song with in my sociology classes to illustrate subcultural slang.  I always regretted that my classrooms were not equipped to play my old 33 rpm vinyl record so they could actually hear the Chad Mitchell Trio recording.

More recently, thanks to musical digitization technology (or whatever the heck it’s called), I was able to upload the original Chad Mitchell Trio song for a mere $1.20.  But now the question is – who can I share it with since I am no longer regaling undergraduates with my wit and wisdom?   The answer was right under my nose: I could post it on Andy’s Corner!

But before letting you play the song, I need to provide some context.  Think of it as like boning up on U.S. constitutional history before seeing the musical Hamilton.  Allow me to briefly clarify some of the key terms you will be hearing.

Drug Addicts in Chinatown Opium Den

1925-New York, NY: Chinatown opium den. Photo is from the September 2018 on-line edition of BBC History Magazine

Hip –  the term “hip” is the most obvious bit of jargon to address.  No one seems to know where the term originated, but the speculative guesses make fascinating reading. One of my favorite etymological explanations is that the term can be traced to recreational opium users who commonly consumed the drug lying on their side, or on their hip (see above photo).  Other explanations suggest that hip evolved from the term “hep” a west African Wolog language term which means “one who has his (sic) eyes open.”   

Square – slang for a person who is conventional and old-fashioned. The term “square” may have originated with the American jazz community in the 1940s, in reference to people out of touch with musical trends.  Or, alternatively, it could have originated from some of my former students who were trying to figure me out.

Bread –   refers to money as in bread dough  (a common slang term for money).  I had never thought of the dough connection until I found references to it on line.

Marijuana slang image

Pot –  it turns out that there are at least 1,200 slang terms related to pot — aka “cannabis or hashish or weed, or asparagus” (according to Time Magazine).  Evidently, slang for  illicit activities or goods tends to constantly evolve – hence the huge number of terms.  I found that there are considerably fewer slang terms related to the pots (and pans) which we use lots of at BigLittleMeals headquarters in Glen Ellen.

Have a Ball – because it is pretty obvious what type of activity this refers to in the lyrics, and because our younger grandson could be reading this blog, I will skip explicating the meaning of this slangy term.

Now it’s time to hear the Chad Mitchell Trio’s The Hip Song  – click on album pictured below (or here):

chadMitchellTrioFeflectin Album photo

Here are the lyrics to the Hip Song

Despite my occasional yearning to be hip, I must reluctantly admit that I have never been a part of that scene.  But is that so bad?  Not according to Huey Lewis and the News,  a singing group I had never heard of prior to preparing this blog, even though our son Travis said that they were big in the 80’s when he was growing up.  In any case, their song “Hip to be Square” offers some solace for my hip envy.

HueyLewis hip to be square

Here are the lyrics to Hip to be Square

OK, that’s it.  See you in the next Andy’s Corner –  be there or be square!


  1. 'Chuck' (well to you that is, but that dates us too right!) says:

    What a trip. To our shared 60’s past that is. Though you’ve moved on, as you now know I haven’t. Thus it is I go now to my old-fashioned but still playable LP – yes,, the very same – instead of this confounded ‘new’ technology – yes again, I need help – to listen once more (and weep for our discarded era jargon) as we recall ‘The Hip Song’ together. Did I ever send you my local community take on it?


  2. Carolyn Hall says:

    The way I know I’m old old old (and obviously not hip) is that I can’t understand any of the words to the Huey Lewis song. (Or any of the songs on the radio today.) 😦


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