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Shake One In The Hay

June 27, 1991|CHARLES PERRY

From the '20s through the '40s, this country enjoyed an epic period of wisecracking. Waiters and short-order cooks were famous for smart-mouth jargon such as "tire patches" for pancakes and "giggle soup" for Champagne. Some of the terms were downright cynical -- "sweep up the kitchen" for hamburger. Soda jerks were particularly well known for slinging the slang. Actually, they didn't use many really cynical epithets for soda fountain foods, perhaps because of the universal affection for ice cream, but they could be heard using the following terms:

Balloon juice: seltzer.

Belch water: carbonated water.

Black water: root beer.

Glob: dish of vanilla ice cream.

Spla: whipped cream.

White stick, black stick: vanilla or chocolate ice cream cone.

Coca-Cola was the most popular soft drink and had a special vocabularly of its own, such as:

Shoot a pair and spike 'em: two lemon Cokes.

Shoot it yellow: a lemon Coke with extra lemon syrup.

Paint one: a cherry Coke.

Since the original 19th-Century formula had contained small quantities of cocaine, it was often called "dope" or "shot in the arm." The fact that it was made in Georgia led to expressions such as "drag one through Georgia," which meant Coca-Cola with chocolate ice cream.

Real slang slinging was intentionally jokey and hard for outsiders to follow. Imagine being a customer and hearing a waitress call out one of these:

Break it and shake it: add egg to a milkshake.

Burn a snowball: dip of chocolatae ice cream.

Burn it and let it swim: chocolate float.

Burn one all the way: chocolate malt with chocolate ice cream.

Hold the hail: no ice.

House boat: banana split.

Shake one in the hay: strawberry flavor shake.

Split one and throw it in the mud: banana split with chocolate syrup.

Twist it, shake it and make it cackle: chocolate malt with egg in it.

Freeze onto this lingo, pally, and you could sling scoops at any ice palace in town.

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