Wanna Feel Old? Read the Beloit College Mindset List
Take the graduates from the class of 2005. They've been out of school five years now, and when they were born, Sarajevo was a war zone, not an Olympic host. Or how about the whippersnappers in the class of 2007? As far as they know, you've always been able to make a phone call from an airplane.
And if you really want to feel like it's time to buy a family plot, consider this: Members of the class of 2002 were born the same year as the Sony Walkman.
So says the Beloit College Mindset List, a cultural crib sheet that has been produced for the past 12 years by two officials at the Beloit, Wis. private school of 1,400 students.
The purpose? To help teachers avoid the embarrassment of dropping a reference their students might not get -- such as, say, referring to "Fergie" to members of the class of 2014 and meaning the princess, not the pop star.
Here are some of the cultural factoids from the last 13 lists that might make you want to laugh -- or cry.
Class of 2014
- Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
- The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.
- J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn't he?
- Beethoven has always been a dog.
- One way or another, "It's the economy, stupid," and always has been.
- E-mail is just too slow, and they seldom -- if ever -- use snail mail.
- They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
- Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.
- American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.
- Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations.
- They have never been "Saved by the Bell."
- GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
- As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."
- Films have never been X-rated, only NC-17.
- Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
- Macaulay Culkin has always been "Home Alone."
- They never "rolled down" a car window.
- Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
- Rap music has always been mainstream.
- They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.
- They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
- The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
- A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
- "Google" has always been a verb.
- They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
- Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
- They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
- Condoms have always been advertised on television.
- Michael Jackson has always been bad, and greed has always been good.
- RU486 has always been on the market.
- They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly.
- Most students entering college this fall were born in 1986.
- Harry has always known Sally.
- Rogaine has always been available for the follicularly challenged.
- We have always been mapping the human genome.
- They have done most of their search for the right college online.
- Iraq has always been a problem.
- Gas has always been unleaded.
- There has always been a screening test for AIDS.
- Computers have always fit in their backpacks.
- They have always had a PIN number.
- Cars have always had eye-level rear stop lights, CD players and air bags.
- Barbie has always had a job.
- Nicolas Cage, Daryl Hannah, Eddie Murphy and John Malkovich made their first major film impressions the year they were born.
- The "Fab Four" are not a male rock group, but four women enjoying Sex and the City.
- Julian Lennon had his only hit the year they were born.
- The New Kids on the Block are over the hill.
- Recording TV programs on VCRs became legal the year they were born.
- They were born the same year as the PC and the Mac.
- Drug testing of athletes has always been routine.
- They have always had access to e-mail.
- Kurt Cobain's death was the "day the music died."
- There have always been ATM machines.
- There has always been a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
- They never dressed up for a plane flight.
- If they vaguely remember the night the Berlin Wall fell, they are probably not sure why it was up in the first place.
- They are the first generation to be born into Luvs, Huggies and Pampers.
- Yugoslavia has never existed.
- They have spent more than half their lives with Bart Simpson.
- Ketchup has always been a vegetable.
- They have never needed a prescription to buy ibuprofen.
- They are too young to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger blowing up.
- The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
- They cannot fathom what it was like not having a remote control.
- They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
- McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.