The price­less things they said 50-odd years ago

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - Let’s face it

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.”

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