Hippie words

In the dim ages, back when I had debts to pay and mouths to feed, I worked for a time at a large bank. I worked in what would probably today be called the customer service department. My job was to take calls all day long from people who had opened checking accounts with the bank and (generally) wanted to complain about their monthly statements not looking like the ones they got at the other place they banked.

I recall several incidents among the thousands of calls I took over the months (before I transferred out of that department) in which the callers had odd but strong opinions about this or that. One of them was about “hippie words.”

A caller grew irate and demanded to speak to my manager because he didn’t like the “hippie words” I was using. Now recall that I said this was in the dim ages, but even so, there weren’t many hippies around any longer by then.

What I had said was that I could help the man “reconcile” his checkbook with his statement. That was the word that set him off.

I often lament my insufficient vocabulary, but I’ve never considered a word like “reconcile” to be exotic or obscure. Certainly not one that is common in the hippie argot. It’s a word I carry around in my toolbox, and I use it when the occasion calls for it.

I suppose that man had a great deal of specialized knowledge and jargon from his many years wandering the earth, but I had the sense that he’d decided he’d heard and learned enough at some point and that anything more was mere fluff. And I suspect that this point came sometime in the ’60s when the rise of the counterculture provided him with a convenient epithet for that outside his understanding and acceptance.

I don’t suppose it was the first time I’d ever considered the power of words, but it’s one of the lessons that has stayed with me, and I’d like to think I’ve stayed current through my own many years wandering the earth.

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6 Comments on “Hippie words”

  1. Amanda Says:

    Ok, your hippie words Suck!

  2. paullamb Says:

    Amanda – Yeah, that’s kind of the point.

  3. erin Says:

    Far out

  4. Hippie Shop Says:

    Reconcile is a word that just goes with a checkbook. Goes to show not everyone should be allowed to communicate outside their small social group


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