"Soda Poppers have a word for it" (1940)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Aug 5 21:34:49 UTC 2001

   From THIS WEEK magazine, NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 17 March 1940, pg. 6, col. 1:

_have a word for it_

For what?  For plenty--including the
doghouse that Mack got himself into
with Julie, the beauteous tray doll

by Jerome Barry

   WHEN Ray Carlin was sent over to be sandwich cutter at the office store ofthe McCutcheon drugstore chain, he learned right away that it was dangerous to trust to the soda poppers' secret language.
   Of course, it was all right to use theeveryday terms--"81" for a glass of water, "square two" for a couple of doughnuts, "farmer's lunch" for a banana split, and so on.  However, if you wanted to call a pal's attention to a pretty girl and sang out, "Check the ice!" you were likely to get a bawling out for being fresh.  You see, the national offices ofthe McCutcheon chain took up several floors in the office building overhead, and anyone who dropped into the store for a sandwich might be a "99"--an official, in plain English--and well versed in the argot of the soda counter.
   He said quietly, so that Hatchet-face couldn't hear him, "Make it D. O. style, Ray.  Strictly D. O."
   Now, when you're cutting a sandwich for an official, you'd better cut it 99 style--strictly according to the formula in the card file that lays down the specifications for that particular kind of sandwich.  The big boys consider that if you cut it bromo style--strictly terrible, to punish a non-tipper--you're displeasing a customer; if you chop it D. O. style, for a fellow who "dusts off" the soda men with a good tip, you're giving away more than he pays for and whittling down the company's gross profit.
   "This is the noblest Roman of them all;
   He takes L. T. on toast with lots of mayo.
   And always dusts us off with dimes and quarters."

(LT is almost BLT...OED wanted a "mayo" from me, pre-1960--ed.)

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