Heels ain’t just for feet, Mr. & Ms. Millennial

If you’re middle-aged, you’ll relate to this post. If you’re younger, you’ll need to read this post.

Tonight’s conversation with the restaurant’s cashier — female, guesstimated age 23 — went like this:

Me: I’d like a bowl of cream of broccoli soup please.

Her: For a side, is a baguette OK?

Me: That’s fine. But no heels.

She looks utterly confounded. Stumbles to continue the exchange.

“It’s a baguette,” she says.

“Yes, I know. No heels.”

Still confused.

“The heels. The end pieces on a loaf of bread.”

“Oh, so you want the center part.”

“Right. No heels. You don’t know what heels are?”


The ironic kicker: She works at Panera Bread.

I’ve observed the Dumbing Down of America for some 17 years.

I’ve seen the younger generation, particularly millennials, lack skills in 3rd-grade fundamentals of math and English.

As a wordsmith, I’ve been particularly heartbroken and dismayed and angered by America’s rampant illiteracy, the lack of simple vocabulary and spelling beyond social media acronyms and abbreviations.

I understand that some words that are simple and common in my vocabulary are absent in vocabularies of even the middle-aged educated population … “extrapolate” … “pernicious …”  “agog” spring to mind.

But “heels.” Really?

When did that become a PhD.-level word in relation to bread?!

Since when is it necessary to attend grad school to assume a vocabulary of the simple, fundamental, common words in day-to-day living?

Imagine if just for fun I’d gone on to say to the cashier:

“He looks like a well-heeled gentleman.”

Or: “I taught Fido  to heel.”

Or: “The dog’s heeling the cattle.”

Or: “The ship kept heeling to the right.”

That’d REALLY throw her for a loop!

“Idiocracy.” One of the funniest and most spot-on comedies I’ve seen in a lifetime as a movie buff. In my Top 5.

It’s a look generations into the future, where Dumbing Down, Illiteracy and Stupidity prevail. Hilarious and frightening.

Idiocracy ain’t the future. It’s now.










3 thoughts on “Heels ain’t just for feet, Mr. & Ms. Millennial

  1. Truly an heel-fated meeting. LOL To be honest, I didn’t know the use of the word in this particular context but then again a) I’m French-Canadian and b) I don’t mind the ends, especially with soup 🙂

    And how could you forget the best use of the word; A wrestler who portrays a villain or a “bad guy” and acts as an antagonist to the faces, who are the heroic protagonist or “good guy” characters.

    • @longeye – As for the varied uses of “heels,” had to draw the line somewhere. 🙂

      Takes a lot to surprise me ‘n’ your comment did! “Heels” is understood in British English too; you must to get out more!

      Entire sites and forums, I’ve discovered, are dedicated to this very subject. In surveys, “heels” still prevails but “crusts” comes up often — completely erroneous as crusts pertain to all edges on a loaf. Some call heels a “butt” (would rather not know those folks, or at least not dine together, haha) or “shpitzel” (new to me).

      Then there’s the Twitter war … best read here. https://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/end-slice-loaf-of-bread/121418

      • I admit that I’m surprised that I didn’t know that either (or maybe forgotten) but in my defence, as a Canadian, I’m too polite to take either the first or the last piece of bread 🙂

        Thanks for the laugh! I agree with you that “crusts” seems to feel wrong and I’m disappointed to see that there’s no 15-sylable word in German for it (according to http://blog.bookworm.at/2008/12/german-for-advanced-beginners-various.html)

        I have to admit that I’m taking a liking to “loafscab”as it has a certain Dickensian flair to it…

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