1966: Long hair
2021: Longing for hair

1966: KEG
2021: EKG

1966: Acid rock
2021: Acid reflux

1966: Moving to California because it’s cool
2021: Moving to Arizona because it’s warm

1966: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2021: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1966: Seeds and stems
2021: Roughage

1966: Hoping for a BMW
2021: Hoping for a BM

1966: Going to a new, hip joint
2021: Receiving a new hip joint

1966: Rolling Stones
2021: Kidney Stones

1966: Screw the system
2021: Upgrade the system

1966: Disco
2021: Costco

1966: Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2021: Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1966: Passing the drivers’ test
2021: Passing the vision test

1966: Whatever
2021: Depends

Just in case you weren’t feeling too old today, this will certainly change things. Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year’s incoming freshmen. Here’s this year’s list:

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1998.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
The CD was introduced 7 years before they were born.
They have always had an answering machine..
They have always had cable. They cannot fathom not having a remote control..

Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.

They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

They can’t imagine what hard contact lenses are.

They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from. They never heard: “Where’s the Beef?”, “I’d walk a mile for a Camel”, or “de plane, Boss, de plane..”

They do not care who shot J. R. & have no idea who J. R. even is

Mc Donald’s never came in Styrofoam containers.


They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter.


Sigh… — 41 Comments

  1. My car is now somewhat theft resistant: stickshift.
    And my writing might be in code, if I write in cursive.

    I have hand-cranked the window up and down.
    I have threaded the film.
    I have threaded the tape (and re-wound the open reel when it went awry…)
    I have waited for ALL the tubes to warm up.
    I have replaced the faulty tube.
    I have set the needle in the groove.
    I have exposed the film, and awaited its development and printing.
    I have used a straight key – and been understood.
    I have started a small engine with a pull-rope that was NOT re-coil.
    I have used a red laser.. that was a HeNe tube and HV supply.
    I have programmed the radio… by soldering in the diode matrix.

    I have NOT…
    …adjusted the spark from the driver’s seat.
    …crank-started a vehicle
    …adjusted the choke from the driver’s seat.
    …set the cat’s whisker on the galena crystal.

    • Never set the cat’s whisker on the galena crystal? I’ve done that… albeit only for giggles. By my day, we already had germanium crystals in cute little glass packages with the cat’s whisker factory-placed, but galena crystals could still be found.
      … Huh. You can still buy a 1N34A on Amazon! But not a galena crystal detector; for that, you’d need to look to a specialty store.

  2. Pingback: If you want to feel old…

  3. That list must be outdated; those entering college now were born in 2003, post 9-11. My younger coworkers, born in the 90’s, don’t understand why it is significant to older people…

  4. I’ve done pretty much all of Orvan’s list. From his short list I can say I’ve used a manual choke.

    • Me too, two of them British sports cars (SU carbs). Eldest brother had a galena crystal radio. I built a diode detector “crystal” radio, though the little amplifier it fed picked up the nearest top-40 AM station better than the radio. (We were in the front lobe, and both of the top-40 stations in the area were 50kW torches.)

  5. I was in the grocery store today and saw the sign by the register that said you can’t buy alcohol if you were born after today’s date in 2000. Two-thousand? Say it ain’t so! I remember feeling old when the year on the sign was 1968! How come my mind still thinks I’m 18(but my body tells me different)?

  6. Jim, Orvan, Yep, Adjusted the manual choke and set a cat’s whisker. In addition, I’ve built a short wave receiver from Knight Kit, vacuumed Grandma’s rug with a Kirby, put cards in the bike spokes to sound like a motorcycle. Hung clothes on a clothes line to dry and many many more things that people don’t even know what the words mean anymore.

    • “short wave receiver from Knight Kit”
      Oh, those. Mine was a Heathkit. With tubes. The world was going transistorized back then, but the kits were a little behind the times.
      Long gone now, as is my first oscilloscope (Navy surplus, all tubes).
      Which reminds me: one of my get-around-to-someday projects in the queue is a tube tester. (Actually a variant of a semiconductor curve tracer.)

    • Knight Kit Star Roamer for the win! Should have kept it…

      Never used a Kirby, but did the others.

      Used a cap pistol with roll-caps. Also used a hammer on the caps.

  7. I’m in the generation that transitioned from analog to digital in their youth. I remember record players and cassette tapes, TVs without remotes, and crank windows. I know how to dial a rotary phone. I remember the Challenger disaster, vaguely. And I think I could handle a typewriter.

  8. Yep to that cat’s whisker on the crystal, too. And I’ve bought many many parts off the walls at Radio Shack. Knew where most of them were before I walked in. Oh, how many circuit boards I etched with a RS kit… Hi tech in that day! Bought my Trash-80 and “special” cassette recorder for data transfer and storage there in the 70s, too, and I UPGRADED the memory to a whopping 4k. Yes, K. I turn 76 this month and remember listening for the vibrator to come on when I fired up the radio in the car. Funny how the car radios in the movies and early TV always came on instantly. And, females never drank alcohol and husband and wife always slept in separate beds on TV.

    • While I miss Radio Shack and their wall of parts, what I really miss is Heathkit and their catalog of kits.

      Dad worked for IBM, and built a couple of ham kits when we lived in Minnesota… then we were transfered to Atlanta. And discovered that there was a Heathkit store there. If only I had money in high school…

      • Three of us at Chanute AFB, Rantoul, Illinois (armpit of Illinois”) took a Home Entertainment Electronics correspondence course via VA — built a TV and associated test equipment for free (the whole point of taking the course). No cabinet included for the TV. I borrowed a van, drove to Benton Harbor, MI, picked up three cabinets. Before those days I was building Allied Radio’s Knight Kits. My bedroom looked like a used parts store.

      • I miss Allied Radio in Chicago, though they did a smaller store in the suburbs (might have been when they were Allied-Radio Shack) when the store/warehouse on Western Ave was a little bit too exciting to visit in the mid ’60s.

        Built a lot of Heathkits, and Dynacos, and I need to look at the Hafler’s power supply–putting out EMI on AM broadcast frequencies. I remember Heathkit at the end. Sad times.

  9. Amazing how the advertising, especially the jingles, from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s stays with you –
    Brylcreem – dab
    Excedrin – not now!
    Oscar Meyer – wish I was ….
    Alka Seltzer – plop, plop …
    Dr. Pepper – 10, 2 and 4
    Chevrolet- see the USA…

  10. This is good stuff. I still feel lucky to have been born in the 60’s. Thanks Old NFO.

  11. All- Thanks, and Orvan I’ve done ALL of those, and a few more. How many remember starter buttons on the floorpan of a car/truck?

    Posted from my iPhone.

    • Sometimes-girlfriend’s father had one and we used it for dates — DeSoto with a slush box. Yeah, no pride even a GF’s father’s car… 🙂

  12. Point of contention: Second space shuttle disaster was in Feb, 2003, so… well, if you remember a lot of those other things, maybe I’ll cut you some slack or beginning to lose your memory. 🙂

    My first encounter with the Age of Oldness was realizing one of my friends was PSWG – Post Star Wars Generation – born after Star Wars the original episode came out. Think about that.

    It’s a strange game to play, looking at someone and wondering what they never had to deal with or were born after X was no longer popular or even made.

    And I don’t remember using starter buttons on the floorplan, but I do remember the hi-beam switch on the floor. And wing-windows. Both which disappeared around the same time.

  13. “I have set the needle in the groove.”

    Done that more than once and have even done it recently.

    Speaking of grooves and records, when I was in tech school, one of my math teachers as part of a class on angular velocity etc., gave a bonus question on one of his tests. The question went like this…

    You have a long play record. It spins at 33 1/3 rpm. There are 10 songs on the record and each song plays for exactly 3 minutes and 33 seconds. There is a 3.33 second lead-in, a 3.33 second lead-out and 3.33 seconds between each song. The flip side is blank and can be ignored. How many grooves are on the record?

    The math is simple but every single student in the class got it wrong.

    Do any of you know the answer?

    • One continuous groove. And I’ve adjusted the choke, etc. Have a Heathkit GR-64 shortwave receiver that still works.

      • Dang, got it in the first try.

        Yep, only one groove spiraling in from the outside edge to the center. I felt so stupid after I got the answer, but felt better about it when nobody else in the class got it either.

        • Woo-hoo, I finally won something! Uh, I did win something, yes? 🙂

          So, how many cables on that big-ass construction crane’s pulley? Heh.

  14. Has anybody “skulled” a “Dory with one oar from the stern, to get from place to place?

    How about setting a few tub trawls at 0400 every damn day from 8 years old to 17? That was to catch 40-50 pound Codfish by the hundreds out of the ocean.

    How about separating cream from the milk with a hand- cranked separator? Make that cream so thick you had to dig it out of the bottle when it cooled off to just room temp?

    And probably shouldn’t put this in here but— dropping a piece of dry ice in a glass jar/can half full of water, with a screw top and running like hell before it reached critical mass?!!!

    Doing the same thing with a small piece of the ice,( or piece of sodium swiped from the chem lab) wrapped in a slice of bread, and laying it on the dock to wait for those Ariel rats, Herring Gulls, to come and gobble it up and then wait for it to “discombobulate” said bird?

    How about giving your buddy a 10,000 volt (low amps)hit from a model T Ford ‘Buzz ” coil by holding one end of a brazing rod on the “buzz” coil and reaching through the hinge gap in the door to touch him with the other end?

    • Skulling? Yep.

      Even done kedging. Which is to toss or carry an anchor on a line way out ahead of the boat, and then pull in the anchor line. It’s also a great way to make micro-adjustments on barges.

      Never did the dry ice thingy, but does glass peanut-butter jars, chlorine powder and brake fluid count? Makes great depth charges for catching mullet.

  15. I have never had to adjust the choke from the drivers seat in an automobile, but I have done it from the drivers seat of my riding lawn mower just a couple of days ago. Does that count?

    When I was a kid in the late fifties, my Dad had a 49 Dodge station wagon. It had a choke on the dash as well as a starter button that you pressed with your foot. If I recall correctly, that starter button was low on the floorboards to the right of the gas pedal. The dimmer button was on the far left side. (By the way, I drove several GMC Safari company vans throughout the 90’s and all of them, even that late, had the foot dimmer switch.)

  16. That list is a little dated. My daughter, born in 1999, is going into her PhD program this fall…

  17. Yes to that cat’s whisker on the crystal as well.

    Indeed, when I was seven years old, our old-codger next door neighbor (…a World War ONE veteran) GAVE me a crystal radio that had belonged to one of his sons. It had the cats whisker that you had to move around to get it to work. I credit him for turning me into a geek before geekdom was cool.

    As far as building radios, I built my first one as a teenager from a schematic and surplus parts – tubes of course – and not from a kit. One of my proudest days was when I finally got that thing working. Did I mention that I was a geek?

  18. Commercial jingles…

    Sometimes it amazes me (…and sometimes it scares me) that I can not tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can still remember the words and tune to a lot of those commercial jingles – a lot of which are over 50 years old.

    One of my favorite Alka Seltzer commercials predates the “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz” era. It starts off showing a bunch of inmates in a prison cafeteria eating, when one of the inmates starts pounding the table with his cup demanding “Alka Seltzer! Alka Seltzer!” Before long the entire cafeteria is chanting “Alka Seltzer! Alka Seltzer!” in unison.

  19. Orvan, I am going to assume that by “…used a straight key – and been understood.” you are talking about CW radio telegraphy and using a straight key instead of a bug.

    Yep, been there and done that. Indeed, I still have my original WWII surplus telegraph key even though it hasn’t been used since the seventies.

    • You are correct in that assumption. Never quite ‘got’ using a bug or other keyer.

    They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter.”

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that someone starting college today not only would have a clue about the typewriter, but could probably use it better and faster than you or I – especially if it was an IBM Selectric or some such. Typewriters aren’t that difficult to figure out, and don’t forget that, unlike us, today’s yoot have been brought up from an early age using keyboards. The QWERTY layout hasn’t changed in a hundred years.

    • Roy, I agree with you, but I think there would be an adjustment period beginning with their realizing it requires wall power (oh, nooooo!) and then trying to figure out how to get the darned thing to work by using only their thumbs. Those keys are all too far apart, doncha know?! 🙂

      • Wait, typewriters require wall power? I think I have one around here somewhere that doesn’t….
        Big adjustments will involve autocomplete/autocorrect. And the backspace key, and the carriage-return lever.

  21. All- LOL, good points. And Ev- I’ve done ‘some’ of those, but not the dory, I did it with a canoe on the river.