O WAVE OF ENLIGHTENMENT! O TIDAL POOL OF knowledge! O California! Here it is again, that font of teen-age slang. It did seem that there was a desolate period, sometime after the Beach Boys and "Beach Blanket Bingo," when we heard no word from the West Coast. "Bitchin,' " "hang ten" and "wipe out" went into dry dock.
Then along came OP, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and the reprise of "jams"; next, the torrent of specifically Pacific slang came crashing back east once again. Surfing terms reappeared, skating terms emerged. Some of these words have crawled so slowly toward the Atlantic seaboard that by the time they got here they were ready to slither into oblivion; others, airborne, have managed to be bicoastally current. bail v. To leave or flee, as in "Let's bail" (Scott Leaver, a transplanted Californian now living in Alexandria). bonzai adj. (bonzeye) Huge or massive, like a bomb (S.L.). gnarly outsider n. (narlee outsider) A large wave beyond the inside waves (S.L.). munchie n. A cut or scrape received from falling off a skateboard or a bicycle, so called because the injurees feel that the road is "munching" on their skin (Jeff Cunningham, Sterling). thrash v. To be really good at something, as in "I thrash at surfing" (S.L.). thrasher n. Skater, as in skateboarder (Beth Nelson, Midlothian, Va.). toxic adj. Astonishing, as in "Hey now, that new Corrosion of Conformity disc is toxic" (Jonathan Kulick, Chevy Chase).
Linguistic observers are invited to send examples of teen-age slang to: J Street, The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.