Every year since 1998, just before school starts in the fall, Beloit College releases its Mindset List. Its stated purpose is to remind teachers of cultural references that may be obsolete to the incoming freshman class. Its real purpose appears to be to make me feel extremely old, almost to the point of writing them to suggest a name change to the “Beloit College When the Hell Did I Get This Effing Old List.”
This year, the item the headline writers seem to be stuck on is the one about writing cursive. Apparently most members of the Class of 2014 can’t, so I’m wondering how they sign letters… except they probably don’t write them. Or checks… except they probably do all their banking electronically. Okay, never mind!
This year’s list didn’t strike as many nerves with me as some of the past ones. Cursive writing and the abundance and normalcy of Korean cars are much less significant to me than some of the past touchstones, which not only touched me but rocked me on my butt.
Class of 2002:
They have never feared a nuclear war.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS. (When we were in college, herpes was the most-feared STD. What a world.)
Class of 2006:
Cyberspace has always existed.
Class of 2008:
There have always been night games at Wrigley Field. (This was a huge one for me, even though I’m not and never will be a Cubs fan. I remember all the talk about tradition, economic survival, and modern sports. I don’t even like baseball but do like living in one of the few cities with a old-time baseball stadium still standing.)
Class of 2010:
Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Class of 2011:
MTV has never featured music videos. (Another huge one for me, because I miss music videos and hate hate hate the 24/7 (sur)reality shows.)
Class of 2012:
For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead. (I was at Stevie Ray Vaughan’s second-to-last concert at Alpine Valley. It cannot have been that long ago. Can it?)
I feel really, really old now. I’d better go and lie down!
(NaBloPoMo | August ’10: 17 of 31)