You know you're "old" when...

[Pause]

"Old"? Seriously? I grew up in South Florida. "Old" is shriveled spines, faded sight, deteriorating faculties. Old is seeing your gastroenterologist more often than your grandkids. And having grandkids, maybe. Old is not buying green bananas, so nothing will go to waste. That's old.

[Start]

The New York Times Education News has become interesting to me, because it is other people for whom the 20s are a memory writing about what's going on with people for whom the 20s are an anticipation, who also happen to be the people that I deal with day in and out. Sure I could learn about the brains of people between 18-25 by watching their TV shows or dissecting Brian's daughter, but those are both gruesome options. So instead I indulge in the anthropological dabbling that is reading the Times Education News.

This one had a headline designed to hook me by the cheek: Yes, You Are Old

You've seen these lists before, but I'm going to editorialize a little:

Class of 2010
— “The Phantom of the Opera” has always been on Broadway.
— A stained blue dress is as famous to them as a third-rate burglary was to their parents.
— Brides have always worn white for a first, second or third wedding.

The class of 2010 entered in Fall 2006 and were probably born in 1988. I think this means I could have baby-sat them.

Class of 2009
— For their daily caffeine emergencies, a Starbucks outlet has always been around the corner.
— They have always entered the Louvre through a pyramid.
— Snowboarding has always been a popular winter pastime.

The class of 2009 entered in Fall 2005 and were probably born in 1987. They were too young to appreciate the best club music in the history of mankind the way it was meant to be heard, and instead were fed the crappiest schlock ever stained with a beat. This will no doubt taint their opinions on dance and pop music for all time.

Class of 2008
— They were born as the last Playboy Club was on its way out.
— They have always watched night games at Wrigley Field.
— AZT has always been an answer to AIDS.

The class of 2008 entered in Fall 2004 and were probably born in 1986. The earliest president they can remember is Bush the first, and they cannot possibly remember how shitty things were at that time. They probably took for granted the prosperity of the mid-to-late 90s, so to them, the world just looks shittier and shitter every day.

Class of 2007
Paul Newman has always sold salad dressing.
— Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.
— What’s leaded gas?

The class of 2007 entered in Fall 2003 and were probably born in 1985. These people just graduated. They are now becoming our grad students, and so are teaching the class of 2011.

Class of 2006
— A hotline is a consumer service rather than a phone used to avoid accidental nuclear war.
— They grew up in minivans.
— They grew up with cyberspace.

The class of 2006 entered in Fall 2002 and were probably born in 1984. They therefore face a mental block with the stubbornness of linear time towards Orwell's 1984. I'm sure they enjoy Animal Farm, though.

Class of 2005
— They were born about the same time as the PC and Mac.
— The Social Security system has always been on the brink.
— There has always been a hole in the ozone layer.

The class of 2005 entered in Fall 2001 and were probably born in 1983. The 9/11 attacks happened during their first few weeks of college, which means most of them probably didn't notice that it had happened.

Class of 2004
— They have never heard a phone “ring.”
— There have always been ATMs at banks.
— They neither know who Billie Joe was, nor ever wonder what he was doing on the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The class of 2004 entered in Fall 2000 and were probably born in 1982. These were my first students, when I started teaching comp to work my way through grad school.

Class of 2003
— They never knew Madonna when she was like a virgin.
— They have no idea how big a breadbox is.
— Travel to space has always been accomplished in reusable spacecraft.

The class of 2003 entered in Fall 1999 and were probably born in 1981. These were Brian's first students, when he started teaching comp to work his way through grad school.

Class of 2002
— They have always cooked popcorn in the microwave.
— The expression “You sound like a broken record” means nothing to them.
— They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.

The class of 2002 entered in Fall 1998 and were probably born in 1980. That means they are now pushing 30, and most of them are probably married with kids and a mortgage that's about to re-set and make them homeless.

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