Here is a portion of a letter I sent to the Green Valley News. (Not sure if it will be published)
Does anyone not love the new phrase, “walking back,” as in, (“so and so)
is walking back the quote directly from his mouth?”
At age thirteen, I took an exotic trip (for the time-1953) all the way to
an uncle’s house in St. Louis from New Jersey. As you know, that’s an age when impressing friends and acquaintances is so vitally important.
When I returned, I told my friends that I had ridden my uncle’s motorcycle all
over town. It was very impressive until a few older friends began to
question my story. I began to walk it back. First, I rode the bike around
the block. (Rode would have been in quotation marks.) That was not good
enough. Next, It was a trip up the driveway. (Trip was in quotation
marks.) They still weren’t buying it. So, finally walking back all the way, I told my friends (who for some reason were calling me a liar) I sat on the bike in the driveway.
The phrase is becoming a cliché. Say something outrageous. If no one
objects, it stands. If someone questions it, walk back a ways. If it
stands then, it is progress. If not, walk a bit further back until the
outrageous thing you said is acceptable or excused.
I sure wish we had “walking back” in 1953. Maybe my friends would have
finally believed that all I did was look at but not touch that beautiful
The meanings of some phrases, such as “wire tap,” even in quotes, are difficult to “walk back,”
but apparently it’s working out just fine.
I like “walking back” much better than “lying.”