The Washington Post

How to tell a square

- Mary Cutrofello Cushing, Arlington

Ronald G. Shafer’s March 11 Style essay about the way cultural references fade from generation­al memory, “Apparently, I didn’t have ’em at ‘ hello,’ ” brought back a funny childhood memory.

My brothers and I were aficionado­s of “Mad” magazine, and a 1968 issue explained to us young ’uns how to tell “a square” from a hip person. A square’s telltale characteri­stic, it said, was the use of the expression “hubba hubba.” We’d never heard the phrase before — but wouldn’t you know that our dad used it just a few days later. He couldn’t understand why we were laughing so hysterical­ly until we showed him the issue.

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