space case (1976), waste case (1986)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Oct 5 20:04:30 UTC 2005

* space case (= a "spacy" person, "space cadet")

[1972 _Bucks Co. (Pa.) Courier Times_ 11 Sep. 16 (classified advt.) Are
you a space case - Suffering from neighboritis - Move up to privacy on
almost 1/2 acre lot into this spacious colonial.]

1976 _Los Angeles Times_ 16 Apr. IV16/2 The floor was packed, as it would
be for Buddy Miles or Canned Heat, and there was plenty of space cases
receptive to the group's crude energy level.

1977 _Social Problems_ 24(3) Feb. 389 The "space case" is an individual
viewed by peers as delusionary and unpredictable.

1980 _Los Angeles Times_ 9 Apr. III8/3 He shows remarkable equanimity
about everything, though some would tell you it's partly because he's a
space case, to use current slang.

1981 _Los Angeles Times_ 2 Apr. V20/1 Full moons, firsts of the month
(when people get government checks) and warm nights are when the
lifeguards expect trouble. Jumpers come out the first of the year. Space
cases show up for celestial events.

* waste case (= a "wasted" person)

1986 in C. Eble _Slang and Sociability_ (1996) 184 _waste case_: drunkard.

1987 _Creem_ Mar. ( What about Glenn Buxton, who was
portrayed as the ultimate rock "waste" case in Greene's book?

1987 _Dallas Morning News_ 6 Oct. (Factiva) No one will find Eisenstadt's
characters as jaded and junky as Ellis' waste cases, and she is quite
defensive about the difference.

1988 _Los Angeles Times_ 12 Aug. 2 (Proquest) Albert Goldman's new
biography of the late ex-Beatle..paints Lennon as an anorexic, LSD-popping
waste case.

1989 _Christian Science Monitor_ 11 Oct. 18 (Nexis) I went to a small
Jewish high school. We had our share of waste-cases, punks, princesses,
brains, geeks, dumb jocks and, yes, cool people.

--Ben Zimmer

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