If you were born in any year that starts with a number, you will be judged

There’s a saying that “three moves is equivalent to a house fire.” (I looked this up, and apparently it has negative connotations in that you will lose or damage as many things by moving thrice as you would by having your house burn down once, but I kind of thought it had positive connotations in that you will clean house as effectively as a fire if you move three times.)

The point is, we’re moving (again!), so I am cleaning out (more!) papers and craft supplies that I acquired from various excursions to my grandma’s house. Most of the stuff I collected from her is weirdly reassuring, like a hilarious e-mail forward from before there was e-mail celebrating being born prior to 1945:



We were born before television, penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, Frisbees and the PILL.

We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams, and ballpoint pens. Before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes — AND — before man walked on the moon.

Bunnies were small rabbits, designer jeans were scheming girls named Jean, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with our cousins.

We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent and Outer Space was the back of the local theater.

We were before house husbands, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers, and commuter marriages. We were before day-care centers, group therapy, and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electronic t ypewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt, and guys wearing earrings. For us, time-sharing meant togetherness … not computers or condominiums. A “chip” meant a piece of wood, “hardware” meant nuts and bolts, and “software” wasn’t even a word.

Back then, “Made in Japan” meant junk and “making out” referred to how you did on your exam. Pizzas, McDonald’s, and instant coffees were unheard of.

We hit the scene when there were 5 and 10 cent stores, where you bought things for five and ten cents. The corner drug store sold ice cream cones for a nickel or a dime. For one nickel you could ride a street car, make a phone call, buy a Pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and two postcards.

You could buy a new Chevy coupe for $600 … but who could afford one? A pity, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.

In our day, “grass” was something you mowed, “Coke” was a cold drink, and “pot” was something you cooked in. Rock music was a grandma’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the principal’s office.

And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby.

No wonder we are so confused and there is such a generation gap today.

But, WE SURVIVED!!! What better reason to celebrate?

There’s your excerpt of a pretty wacky list (with punctuation modified to fit the 21st century).

And here are some vocabulary words to accompany this post:



What I find most amusing is that such list-making persists into the digital era, as the Beloit College Mindset List demonstrates. (The Wisconsin school has released the list annually since 1998 to provide “a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.”)  Here’s an excerpt from that:

Students heading into their first year of college this year were generally born in 1996. [There are certainly students that this list doesn’t apply to who will be graduating in 2018.]

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.

For students entering college this fall in the Class of 2018…

1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.

4. When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.

5. “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”

6. Celebrity “selfies” are far cooler than autographs.

9. Ralph Nader has always been running for President of the U.S.

11. The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.

12. In their lifetime, a dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.

13. Women have always attended the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.

15. Pepsi has always refreshed travelers in outer space.

17. Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.

20. Citizens have always had a constitutional right to a “dignified and humane death.”

21. Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight.

22. Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.

23. Hello Dolly… cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction.

24. Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.

28. Parents have always been able to rely on a ratings system to judge violence on TV.

30. There has always been “TV” designed to be watched exclusively on the web.

31. The Unabomber has always been behind bars.

32. Female referees have always officiated NBA games.

33. There has always been a national database of sex offenders.

37. Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.

38. Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.

39. While the number of Americans living with HIV has always been going up, American deaths from AIDS have always been going down.

42. “African-American Vernacular English” has always been recognized as a distinct language in Oakland.

45. One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.

52. U.S. soldiers have always been vaccinated against anthrax.

53. “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.

54. Their collection of U.S. quarters has always celebrated the individual states.

(The missing items are cut because you can just go read the entire list at the original source – plus, some were things that I was embarrassed that I didn’t know despite being born prior to 1996.)

The overlap between the two lists is most salient to me in regards to various medical conditions and treatments (AIDS, vaccines for polio and anthrax), discussions of currency (the value of a nickel or the decor on quarters), civil rights (“gay rights” and “same-sex marriage”), outer space (moon / theater and Pepsi), and pregnancy (with the mentions of husbands and frozen eggs).

And last, but certainly not least, here’s an excerpt from “23 Insanely Mind-Blowing Facts About The Class Of 2018” (via AO’MM <– is that right?!):

20. Their life experiences tend to differ slightly from yours because they were born after you and the world is constantly changing.

22. They are 100 percent polyester.

23. By the time they graduate college, you will be dead.

In conclusion, the more things change… you know the rest!

UPDATE: Found this on Twitter just the other day…


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One Response to If you were born in any year that starts with a number, you will be judged

  1. Pingback: Selfies, Foodies, & Other Redundancies | This dissertation is going to be fun, like dessert

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