Occasionally there is a moment when it becomes crystal-clear that a particular formerly hip word or phrase has outlived its usefulness. I experienced such a moment on the way to work this morning.

If you’ve spent any time listening to radio in the Bay Area you’re familiar with Tom Shane, who for many years has been blanketing the airwaves with advertisements for his jewelry concern, the Shane Company. Tom seems like a nice guy, but one thing we can say for sure about him is that he is — how to put this delicately? — extremely white. This did not, however, prevent him from uttering the following phrase bragging on his company’s wares:

“Our selection of sapphires is off the hook.”

End of story.