The priceless things they said 50-odd years ago
ODAY'S column is for grown-ups. Anybody under the age of 50 can go outside and play. These are things overheard in 1961: “I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s soon going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for R15.”
“They want to call Johannesburg’s southwestern townships Verwoerdstad. But it looks like the name ‘ Partheid Township’ will win. The locals call it Soweto but that’ll never catch on.”
“Do you think the police will ever catch this fellow Nelson Mandela?”
“What’s all this about the Russians walling off Berlin?”
“I shouldn’t have bought this Merc – it cost me almost R3 to fill the tank.”
“What? Twenty-five cents a packet? If they go up any more, I’m going to give up smoking.”
“They’re predicting that to post a letter is going to cost 3c next year!”
“Look at those stupid kids with ducktail haircuts. One day, boys will be wear-
Ting their hair as long as girls.” “I don’t believe the bioscope does kids any good. On the films, they now openly say ‘bloody’ and ‘damn’ and kids are bound to follow suit.”
“Guess what? Amanda’s got one of those electric typewriters! Seriously!”
“Some of those Wimbledon tennis players are saying they should get at least R500 for playing in the finals.”
“Have you seen the new Chevy station wagon? R1 200! Who’s going to pay R1 200?”
“It’s ridiculous. They want R500 for an acre in Bryanston! It’ll cost at least another R8 000 to put a house on it.”
“I’m going to ask for a raise. As a shorthand typist, I should be getting at least R120 a month.”
“Took my wife to a restaurant last night – they wanted R2.50 for 12 queen prawns! I ordered barracuda instead – R1.50. And my favourite red wine has gone up to 35c!”
“Do you know there are 100 computers in South Africa, and by 1962 they expect another 20! And somebody predicts that NCR’s R1 million computer – it’s the size of a room – will be down to pocket-size by 1985 and sell for R10.
“You like it? I paid R3.50 for the blouse and R7.95 for the skirt at Foschini.”
“Pantihose? What on earth are pantihose?”
“Our favourite seaside hotel now wants R30 a week for the two of us. We’ve cancelled, of course.”
“If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.”
Okay kids, you can come in now. There have been some shocking stories regarding plastic surgery lately, and it brings to mind Kate Winslet’s reaction when asked why she wouldn’t consider cosmetic surgery.
She said: “I’d like to grow old with my face moving.”
On the other hand, the late Joan Rivers, half-joking, said: “I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”
I recall how, some years ago, the journal Annals of Improbable Research, (www.improbable.com) looked at the amazing “scientific breakthroughs” claimed by the cosmetics industry. The journal was founded by two fellows at Harvard University – the two who are responsible for the annual IgNobel Prizes which go to scientists whose work seems fatuous or bizarre.
Clinique, at the time, was advertising “anti-gravity” cream.
Ever since HG Wells, science has been dreaming of creating an anti-gravity substance that would allow workmen to toss small girders around or airliners to be propelled by hairdryers.
With a little anti-gravity cream behind the ears, heaven knows what one could do.
A reader, some time ago, sent me a letter saying he had bought a book on antigravity. He said: “Trouble was, I couldn’t put it down.”