Jet jockey slang (1950); SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE anachronisms

Barry A. Popik Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Jun 3 00:50:43 UTC 1999


    This is from DESERT WINGS (Edwards Air Force Base, near Mohave,
California), 30 June 1950, pg. 7, cols. 4-5:

_Easy on the Go Handle,_
_Chomp on the Binders!_
By Armed Forces Press Service

     The squirt job had it made as the man from Mars chomped on the binders.
     Sound odd?  You ain't heard nothin' yet.  How about:
     "...and there I was fat and flute happy at about 30,000 thanks to muscle
stretchers and the mice?"
     Now you're getting an inkling that this jabber is connected with jets.
It is.  It's the new lingo being incorporated into the languages of mankind
by the jet jockeys (pilots of jet planes).
     The boys who whiz about the skies in their jets have developed their own
     Learn a few phrases and give your friends a workout.  Here are a few of
the more choice words and phrases:
     SQUIRT JOB--Jet plane.
     HAD IT MADE--Any completely successful operation such as a landing,
take-off, target run, etc.  In short, "Everything's Okay!"
     MAN FROM MARS--Jet pilot with full flight equipment: helmet, parachute
and one-man dinghy, Mae West, oxygen mask, bail-out bottle, goggles, and
flying suit.
     CHOMP ON THE BINDERS--Apply Brakes.
     FAT--Same as "Had it made."
     FLUTE HAPPY--Control stick "happy," or when the pilot does everything
that's in the book as well as many things which are not.
     MUSCLE STRETCHER--A boost system which augments a pilot's effort to move
elevators on some types of planes.
     MICE--Tailpipe inserts which facilitate adjustment of nozzle area and
thus permit maximum thrust.
     GO HANDLE--Jet engine throttle controls.
     LITTLE JOE OR GANG DRAIN--Overboard fuel drain which, on the F-84 E, is
located near the ejector end of the tail section.
     PIN BALL MACHINE--Reference to instrument panel with all of its
instruments, dials, flight indicators, flashing lights, etc.
     PANTS DUCT--Where air-in ducts meet to pass air into the compressor
section of the engine.
     RAILROADING--Inadvertant shuttling between normal and emergency fuel
     HOT SEAT--Pilot's ejection seat.


"The show must go on!"

    SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (which Oscar loved so much a few months ago) was the
movie on my LA-NY flight.
    Anachronisms are somewhat beside the point--naming a character "Ethel"
was meant to be an anachronistic joke.  The movie is supposed to be a cutesy,
invented version of history.  Nonetheless:

ROLLING IN THE AISLES--Not likely in Shakespeare's day, and it didn't happen
on my plane, either.  From about 1920--not 1598.

BREAK A LEG--Yes, it's an entertainment phrase, but all the RHHDAS citations
are 20th century.

PLAYED THE PALACE--The phrase comes from the Palace Theatre in New York
City--the home of vaudeville from about 1910-1930.

DIPPED YOUR WICK--The RHHDAS promises this with "wick," but I'll be surprised
if it's this early.

BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES--DARE has a nice entry for this, but the earliest cite is

PIPSQUEAK--Slang from about 1910.

IT'S A MYSTERY!--This was said several times in the movie.  Geoffrey Rush
stole it from...the Geoffrey Rush character in the Oscar-nominated movie


    I wrote "wait table (sic)" just so people would know that was in the
original--it wasn't a typo for "wait tables."  I've made a typo or two.  I've
also copied a few errors recently ("Windsor" for "Winsor" McCay) without
adding "sic."
    My "eye candy" interest had already been "piqued" (aroused) and I wanted
to say that it was "peaked" (heightened).
    I apologize for all errors and for any poor choice of words.

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