I learned to drive with a stick shift—three on the column. My second car was a standard four on the floor. I have fond memories of a five-speed Beamer preceded, however, by an array of VW bugs, all with very loose gear boxes—I enjoyed shifting without depressing the clutch. Of course, there were moving trucks I drove like a Hollywood with doughnut wheels. I didn’t have an automatic until late in life.
The point of all of this is that this week I was walking the dogs when I heard the sound of a very bad shift; instinctively, I yelled, “Grind me a pound!” It had been decades since I had used that phrase. I learned it from my dad when he threw me into the fire with my first driving lesson. It went something like, “that’s the clutch, not the brake, push it down with your left foot when you want to shift.” Wha’? Anyway, the gears didn’t mesh on my first attempts and so I was greeted with “Grind me a pound!”
The parade of words and phrases leaving our ever evolving culture continues as we say goodbye to stick shifts, dial phones and TVs where you changed the channels by hand (I remember the day I stripped the turner knob, forcing us to use pliers to go from NBC to ABC or CBS–no cable back then.).