I found my ancient old dictionary! It was in a desk cabinet, of all places. Not that I was searching for it or anything, but since I’ve come across it, I’m suddenly inspired to do some alphabet posts. Try to contain your excitement, please.
It’s a beat up old red Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1973. It is older than my children. And appears to have been mauled by them, since there are a few pages obscured by scribbling in pen, pencil, and lime green crayon. There are several rips and tears (repaired with brittle yellowed tape) and many dog ears and a half missing spine. I can’t remember the last time I used it. Probably not since discovering an on-line dictionary with thesaurus and reference section and quotes and all kinds of information I had no idea ordinary people needed to fill their heads with.
It’s almost too easy, this new and improved way of looking things up. Kind of takes away the thrill of the chase when you’re searching for the definition of a word but have no idea how to spell it. Now there’s no need to flip through pages and run your finger down long columns of words until you find the right one. The on-line dictionary looks at your ridiculous hodgepodge of letters and says “did you mean….” and then spews out fifty possibilites so that you can click on the right one and stop your brain from hurting.
I’ve decided that since I often do things left right and sideways, I will go backwards through the dictionary instead of forwards. Besides, the Z section is only four pages long and therefore less intimidating than the A’s. So, zooks and zounds, it’s time to get to the point. Z is not just for zip, zero and zilch, although all of those are truly awesome words.
Z is for Zoot Suits
Is that not a beautiful thing? The Zoot Suit coat has wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. The pants are high waisted, wide legged, and tight cuffed. One completes the look with a felt hat with a feather, a crazy long watch chain, and pointy French style shoes. Popular during the Jazz Age in Harlem in the 1940’s. Reintroduced in banana yellow by Jim Carrey in “The Mask”.
Z is also for Zazous.
Zazous were a young French subculture during World War II expressing their individuality by all dressing the same (but differently from sane people.) They stole (or perhaps just borrowed) the Zoot Suit look. Jackets were big and garish, with stripes or checks. Add some heavy shoes, crazy socks, sunglasses, long hair, and an umbrella – and don’t forget to dance. Swing and bebop on the Champs Elysées. Eat carrot salad and love decadent jazz. The women wore their hair long and curly, had giant shoulder pads, short pleated skirts, net stockings, and clunky shoes with thick wooden soles.
I think I was born in the wrong era. I remember that outfit from highschool. Ooo la la. Ah well. C’est la vie.
(Sorry about Zygapophysis – if you really want to know, it’s one of the articular processes of the neural arch of a vertebra of which there are usually two anterior and two posterior, and I only threw it up there to catch your attention and appear to be smart. I was having a zinfandel moment.)