Am I an Old Fart?

I’ll be teaching (or teaching-assisting) this fall: By The Way, An Active Fault Runs Through Your Precious Precious Football Stadium And We’re All Going To Die 101, which satisfies the physical science breadth requirement for sundry jocks and humanists. Today was an all-day training session for first-time TAs (“GSIs“); it was of nonzero yet underwhelming utility, but thankfully, they kept the OMG you must relate to the cultural idiosyncracies of the student body!1! jibberjabber to a minimum.

However, my college professor uncle forwarded this year’s list of things that will make college professors feel really old to the family list, and it’s Friday, so I thought I’d play along. Am I too old and farty to relate to my students?

Standard blog meme rules apply: bold for the ones that are true for me, plain text on the ones that aren’t, and comments in italics.

  1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.I remember learning about the collapse of the Soviet Union, but the student union can be pretty scary
  2. They have known only two presidents.
  3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
  4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
  5. They have grown up getting lost in “big boxes.”
  6. There has always been only one Germany.
  7. They have never heard anyone actually “ring it up” on a cash register. – college freshmen have never been to pretentiously old-fashioned diners?
  8. They are wireless, yet always connected. – I still don’t have a cell phone, beat that for technophobia!
  9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents’.
  10. Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
  11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake. – Where are these people getting their milkshakes?
  12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
  13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style. – faux fur is a necessary element of style?
  14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization. – look, just ’cause current evangelical lobbying groups have less catchy names…
  15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.distinguishing between sports teams is never necessary
  16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
  17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
  18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication. – hello, class issue!
  19. “Google” has always been a verb. – I totally got 2 hits from Altavista this week
  20. Text messaging is their email.
  21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
  22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
  23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
  24. Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach. – Madden what what huh?
  25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
  26. “Boogers” candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents. – apparently kids these days don’t know about rubber rats or fake puke
  27. There has never been a “skyhook” in the NBA.NBA what what?
  28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.
  29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
  30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
  31. They grew up in mini-vans. – class issue, again
  32. Reality shows have always been on television.
  33. They have no idea why we needed to ask “…can we all get along?”
  34. They have always known that “In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups.”
  35. Young women’s fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is. – this seems to be some sort of fashion-jargon use of the word “waist”, ’cause all the young women’s fashions I’ve ever been familiar with were obsessed with waists…
  36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
  37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
  38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
  39. “So” as in “Sooooo New York,” has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else
  40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
  41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
  42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
  43. They are not aware that “flock of seagulls hair” has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
  44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled. – maybe if I didn’t live under a rock I would understand modern beauty regimens
  45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
  46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers. – hang on, when did that happen? I clearly missed a point of outrage
  47. Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
  48. Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
  49. They have always been searching for “Waldo.”
  50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.there was a time when rich people’s birthday parties were frugal affairs? Outlandish is a relative term
  51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
  52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car. – kids no longer play state license plate games? OUTRAGE!
  53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
  54. There have always been live organ donors.
  55. They have always had access to their own credit cards. – class, class, cla-aaassss! I know Beloit is chock full of the bourgeois, but seriously
  56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
  57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
  58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
  59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
  60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
  61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
  62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
  63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
  64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
  65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
  66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
  67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
  68. “Outing” has always been a threat.
  69. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift. – cutesy sentimentality is not the same thing as a perfect gift
  70. They have always “dissed” what they don’t like.
  71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
  72. Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
  73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
  74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.and Ringo Starr’s status was last an important piece of pop culture in what year, again?
  75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

… looks like I am still 43% hip and with it. Woot!

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. Another Year Older, Another Year Fartier on 29 Aug 2007 at 12:46 pm

    […] am still over 50% hip and with it – and apparently getting hipper and more with-it (or more forgetful of my old-fashioned upbringing) as time goes […]


  1. Andrew Ironwood wrote:

    Well, being someone who once actually *had* the hairdo, #43 certainly makes *me* feel bad…

    And #9, 15, 21, 25, 37, 46, 50 and 72 all sure *seem* true enough for little ole me…

  2. b wrote:

    Hows about, “Computers have always been portable.” Or even, “Students have always owned their own computers.”

    Back when I was at Caltech, there were these rooms called “computer labs”. Really — if you wanted to use a computer, you had to go into a special -room-! Weird, huh?

  3. yami wrote:

    Hey, I used to use the computer labs! Though of course, by the time I was there not having your own computer was largely a mark of money and the lack thereof…

  4. sciencewoman wrote:

    My list we be roughly the same as yours as I am guesing we are about the same age. But I wanted to fill you in on the censorship thing (I was editor of my HS newspaper). The Supreme Court decided in 1988 that principals could censor school papers (I think it applies to college papers as well), and my principal made good use of the ruling. For more see this site.

  5. Lab Lemming wrote:

    In the early 90’s (and late 80’s), we got around Hazelwood by independently publishing our own high school student paper. We tried paying for it with ads, but found it was more profitable to print articles so outrageous or obscene that the authors’ mothers bought all the surplus copies off us to prevent further embarassment of their child…

  6. yami wrote:

    Huh. Thankfully, my school was too liberal (AFAIK) to bother censoring the paper to any noticeable extent.

  7. kerrick wrote:

    I was censored out of my HS paper for a letter I wrote in criticism of the administration confiscating the “History Has Set the Record a Little Too Straight” poster from a classroom.

  8. Brian (Jay) wrote:

    11. Silly question. Brewing coffee has always taken longer than a milkshake, unless one was including making of the ice cream beforehand…
    30. True, but it was a function of where I grew up in Georgia.
    48. False, I’m still eating bad airline food. Continental still serves meals in coach…
    55. True, if only because MIT issued Coop cards to all students.
    60. true, because I never watched TV much…
    65. False, I bought her dinner once.
    68. True, but it depends highly on how fringey one was/is.
    72. true… even if it was his father…

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