Falling into the Generation Gap?

by Frank Kaiser

How old do you feel today? By the end of this column, I guarantee that you'll be feeling much, much older.

Seems that each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of that year's incoming freshmen. Here's the latest list:

1. The people who are started college this fall across the nation were born in 1982.

2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and did not know he had ever been shot.

3. Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.

4. There has been only one Pope. They can only remember one president.

5. They were 9 when the Soviet Union broke apart. What Cold War?

6. They have never feared a nuclear war. "The Day After" is not a movie but a pill.

7. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up, and Tiananmen Square means nothing to them.

8. Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

9. They never had a polio shot, and likely do not know what it is.

10. Bottle caps have always been screw-off. What's a pull-top can?

11. Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.

12. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.

13. They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.

14. The first Star Wars looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic.

15. They may have heard of an 8-track, but chances are they probably never have actually seen or heard one.

16. The Compact Disc was introduced when before they were born.

17. As far as they know, stamps have always cost 32 or 33 cents.

18. They have always had an answering machine.

19. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black-and-white TV.

20. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA is.

21. They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

22. They were born before Walkmen were introduced by Sony.

23. Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.

24. The Tonight Show has always been with Jay Leno.

25. Popcorn has always been cooked in a microwave.

26. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

27. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WW1, WW2, or even the Civil War.

28. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
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29. They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

30. They never heard the terms: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "de plane, de plane!"

31. They don't care who shot J.R.

32. Michael Jackson has always been white.

33. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not groups.

34. McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.

35. There has always been MTV.

How do you feel now, old-timer?

© 2000—Frank Kaiser

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