The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of the Davis Clipper.
One of the sure signs you are growing old is when younger people (aka those darn Millenials) look baffled by something you feel is common knowledge. “How can you not know this?” you say. “Why should I care?” they respond.
“You should care,” I argue, “because it is part of history – recent history – and it will come up in conversation with anyone who doesn’t believe video games are the greatest invention since waffles and food trucks.”
Oh, there will always be people who are clueless. Three years ago I spoke to a 20-something who said he had heard of a music group called the Beatles, but couldn’t name one song or tell me anything about them. I simply put this down as sheer stupidity or, as wry writer and lecturer David Sedaris says, “Why is that stuff coming from that hole in your face?”
But for the most, I blame it on poor parenting, lackadaisical education and a complete lack of curiosity.
For instance, I recently talked to a young man who, upon discussing a mass shooting, had never heard of Columbine, the school shooting that is often brought up every time an idiot carries a loaded weapon into a classroom. Granted, the Columbine High School shootings occurred when he was barely a child, but most of us old folk know about World War II though we weren’t even in the womb when it occurred.
Even worse, when I offered to lend him the excellent book, “Columbine” by Dave Cullen, he waved me off. “I haven’t read a book in 10 years. Why would I start now?”
I almost answered, “So you wouldn’t be an ignorant airhead the rest of your life.” But I didn’t. He already thinks anybody over the age of 55 is cranky.
Then last week I talked to a woman in her early 30s. I mentioned how one of my early teen get-togethers was at a root beer party where I was goaded into embarrassing myself by performing the Twist.
She had never heard of the Twist. She also didn’t have any idea of how John Lennon died, who the Eagles were (they only have the biggest-selling music album in American history) or that Ronald Reagan was an actor prior to becoming President. And while I gave her a pass on not knowing about the Twist, I was astounded when she looked glassy-eyed after I mentioned the silliness of people “streaking”.
OK, maybe we need to get these kids up to speed on cultural history. They can even look it up on their mobile devices. It has been 45 years since a 33-year-old advertising executive ran naked across the stage of the Academy Awards and the host, actor David Niven, brought laughs by noting the nude man was “revealing his shortcomings” on national TV.
There are hundreds of incidents of men and women “streaking” in public places. Thankfully it was a brief fad, but it did result in 15 different music records about streaking. One of them “The Streak” by Ray Stevens, was the number one song in the country for three consecutive weeks. (Who can forget the distraught old codger hollering “Don’t look Ethyl!”)
I’m not saying a man or woman cannot be intelligent if they don’t know about streaking. But neither should they think that there was no history prior to the iPhone or that there was not form of communication before texting.
I’m not requesting that young adults enjoy the past. I’m only asking that they be curious.