In the middle of the baby boomers and the millennials, Generation X broke free from the mold. They were aware of how silly life can be and could laugh about it. They made their own rules, their own stories and their own words. Some of the greatest classics in movies and music came from this slightly unusual group.
Movies like "Reality Bites" "The Breakfast Club" and "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" show younger, more casual people, knowing something the rest of the world didn't. Stories were told in a way you didn't quite see before, like Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" with its out of order arc. In "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," the clueless slackers literally change the world.
Music went beyond the pale during this time. Grunge rock knocked out glam rock from the CD players and Walkmans. Who from that time could forget Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit?" "Here we are now, entertain us!" Those lyrics summed up Gen X's approach to life. Beck happily said, "I'm a loser, baby ..." Most in that generation didn't actually believe they were losers. They just didn't take themselves so seriously.
Of course, they didn't take their language so seriously, although they can spell and write cursive. Whether something was gnarly or sweet, it was all good. Answer our questions, and see how excellent you are!
This colorful way of expressing anger is a play on the post office. There have been occasions when the friendly mail carrier gets pushed a little too far. That's not a sight anybody wants to see.
When you come to a slight dip in the road, you can't be seen, and when you leave, you can't be seen at that point, either. When, you’re ready to go, you can bounce, dip or leave. See ya!
In the words of the Cadillac man, Matthew McConaughey: “Alright. Alright. Alright.” When everything is "a'ight," everything is surely alright. Don't let the missing letter fool you.
When you’re done hanging out, you leave a place and you go back to your ‘hood. You eventually head back to the “crib” and go to sleep. When you do, hopefully you sleep soundly like a baby.
When something is "phat," it's the latest thing. The hip-hop lovin' Gen X'ers sported Phat Farm and Baby Phat in the '90s At that time, it was up there with Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
If someone said something that you agreed with and that you could get behind, you would say, "Word up!" The old school hip-hop group, Cameo said, "Tell me what's the word... the word up!"
If your big brother ever said, "Take that mask off. Halloween doesn't happen until October," that's a diss. If you ever decide to diss someone, just be prepared for a slick comeback.
When a Gen 'Xer couldn't go to the party on a Friday night, or if they were older, and they couldn't get into the best club in town, that was "bogus." Bill and Ted had a journey that was bogus.
Someone sitting next to you or nearby could be hungry. You could turn to them, offer them some of the food on your plate, pull it away and say, "Psych!" Not very nice, but there it is.
"Sometimes, you gotta look at a wave, and say, 'Hey, dude! Let's party!'' It was good enough for Jeff Spicoli, surfers, and it was good enough for Gen 'Xers. Dude, that's how it was.
After a long day, sometimes you just want to kick off your shoes, get in your sweats and sit on the couch. Or you could hang with friends. When you do any of that, you're kickin' it.
When you're surfing the Internet and it's one troll after another, you just "can't even." Or when you see the latest Kardashian shenanigan, you just "can't even." Gen Xers said this before social media.
When the music blares through the sound system and you get on the dance floor at the party or reception. As you bust a move, you're dancing. You're "gettin' jiggy wit it." Put the Will Smith CD on, and shake a tail feather.
You have friends, and then, you have acquaintances. Within your friend circle, you have a "homeslice." You have that one friend who makes you feel like you have a little slice of home with you.
When all the other kids are going to the movies or a football game on a Friday night, a "dweeb" might be hiding out at home. They could be studying for an algebra exam because they haven't quite mastered Pythagorean theorem.
When you have moves whether or not you show those moves on the basketball court or in life, you're like butter. You're on a roll. It follows that you must be the butter, especially if you are smooth.
This bit of Gen Xer slang came from New Zealand. All of your gear was the cream of the crop. If you had the latest Doc Martens while wearing your favorite Sean John sweater, you were just plain fly.
If you told Cher from "Clueless" she couldn't tell a real Louis Vuitton bag from a fake one, she would say, "As if!" In other words, she would be saying "as if that could really happen."
Generation X comedian Pauly Shore made the contribution of "grindage" to the slacker vocabulary when he appeared in the movie, "Encino Man." When he was hungry, you could find him "munching on some 'grindage.'"
'50s rock icon Jerry Lee Lewis was nicknamed "The Killer" for his virtuoso piano skills and king-sized personality. Years later, something was called "killer" when it was excellent or outstanding.
Similar to the British slang, "grotty," this bit of lingo is used to describe something that is particularly nasty. When you are driving and you see roadkill, you could call that "grody."
Gen Xers could describe pretty much anything as "the bomb" or even "the bomb diggity." Food, music or movies, they could use that term to describe a lot. Except for when they were in an airport.
When you were "buggin," you were doing something out of character or just plain silly. When someone else was "buggin," the rap group Whistle had the best advice to handle it: "Don't take it seriously."
If you had a fat bank account, drove the finest vehicles, flew in private jets, and wore designer brands, it was safe to say you were ballin." A casual observer might say you had mad "cheddar," too
When you're talking and you have a brain freeze or are stumbling for the right word, "like" is a universal gap filler. It's, "like" an all-purpose word that is fitting for many situations.
When a Gen Xer was listening to music on their boombox in either their bedroom or in their dorm room, it could be a real buzzkill when someone told them to do their homework or study.
If you saw yourself as "all that and a bag of chips," you saw yourself as all that and so much more. Or maybe something you or your friend had something that was just "it,” the best thing ever.
In the '90s, if you were a skateboarder and sported Keds or Vans, you had the "fresh" gear. If you wore oversized Girbaud jeans and shirts and Timberlands, your clothes were "fresh."
Run DMC said, "Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good!" Along with NWA and Public Enemy, they were among the baddest rappers back in the day. Sometimes, you're so good; you're "bad."
LL Cool J showed us what was fabulous in gold rope chains and four-finger rings. Biz Markie had diamonds on his rope chains. And Jay-Z went next level by showing us platinum jewelry.
"Bodacious" is part bold and part audacious. In the movie, Bill and Ted described Socrates as "the most bodacious philosophizer in Greece." But you don't have to be Socrates to be "bodacious."
"Heinous" doesn't even sound like a pleasing word. Gen Xers used it for something seriously disturbing. For example, if you were denied the keys to the car, you felt most "heinous."
If someone sticks their nose in where it doesn't belong, they might get told, "Don't go there." If you hit a nerve or touched on a sensitive subject, you might get told the same thing.
When you're "crunk," you're amped up and ready to party. "Crunk" is also a style of music that came out of the Dirty South. Lil Jon and Lil Scrappy are some of the artists who perform it.
In Ice Cube's movie, "Friday," Felicia was an irritating moocher. He wanted to dismiss her, so he said, "Bye, Felicia." He succeeded in getting rid of her and created a catchphrase in the process.