It seems the new buzz phrase going around is, “Back in the day…” Which day we're talking about is not always clear, but there has been a lot of going back to it lately.
It’s fascinating to me how these phrases get started and are perpetuated. I first started wondering about buzz phrases when “the bottom line” started going around back in the 1980s. Then along came “been there, done that”, “it’s not about you”, and a number of others that caught on and were run into the ground.
But what of this “back in the day” thing? What happened to “back in my day” or “back in the old days”?
I want clarity. If someone’s attempting to usurp my decrepitude without actually admitting age with their “back in the day”, I want to know what damned day they're going on about. I’m older than most people think I am, and I’ve lived enough life for three people. Besides, I’ve noticed that most of the people who use this phrase are a good 20 to 30 years younger than I am. If I can say “back in the ’50s”, surely you can confess “back in the ’70s (’80s, ’90s, etc)”.
I’ve Googled the phrase and have found some interesting ideas about it. Some people believe that it originated in the ’80s with M.C. Hammer’s song, “Back in the Day” (sounds reasonable, and if this is the case, we white folks have only just recently caught onto it, which is even more believable). Some believe that it’s used more in the sense of pleasant nostalgia rather than pulling rank (sounds possible). One person wrote that it’s a kind of rite of passage for twentysomethings who want to claim being old enough to already have an interesting past (sounds probable). Still, it just feels noncommittal to me. Age unspecific.
What catch phrase comes to your mind, and what’s your take on it? Why do we latch onto phrases like this?