All My References Date Me

(Please feel free to sing Pearl Jam’s “W.M.A.” when you read the title to this post. My brain seems to think it’s Weird Al lately, turning everything into a parody song. Last week Bookslut’s Michael Schaub tweeted about how whenever he read anything about Jennifer Egan’s fabulous, Pultizer prize winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad he heard Elvis Costello’s song “Goon Squad” and I replied that it was much better than hearing a modified version of “Welcome to the Boomtown.” Yes, if you’re counting that’s dated reference #2.)

Today, I was tweeting about the therapeutic properties of Hacker Typer which lets you pretend you’re a movie or TV hacker. It spits out fauxcode while you press keys on your keyboard. Try it, and you’ll see what I mean.

Steve asked what in the hell it actually did and I thought it started a game of Global Thermonuclear War (#3). Then I went on to tell him how I had watched Matthew Broderick’s early classic “WarGames” in 8th grade math class. I intended my next line to be “which is why I can never balance my checkbook.” (#4)

But I paused. Do people still balance checkbooks? Will people under, oh, the age of 25 get that at all? Do they even have checkbooks?

I can’t remember the last time I balanced a checkbook. It might have been in the mid-90s, maybe. I often eschewed checkbook balancing because it was entirely too depressing. Why bother when you were sure you were down in a hole (sing NIN’s “Head Like a Hole here. #which will not be named)? By the time I actually had money, I could easily check my balance online.

So now I wonder, what kind of lame reference can people make to show that they are bad at math and it’s all to blame on the fact that they watched “WarGames” and “Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land” (#6) instead of learning fractions?

Of course, all this reminded me of the time I turned to my much younger co-workers at The Nerdery and asked if my Weezer/Buddy Holly (#7) reference was too dated.

And to make matters even worse? Last week while I was babysitting Nolan, who was recovering from some sort of Tibble ailment, we were coloring. He was doing some sort of Super Mario picture and I was coloring one of Jem (#8).

“Is that Lady Gaga?” he asked.
“No,”I said. “It’s Jem.”
“It looks like Lady Gaga.”
“Jem came way, way before Lady Gaga.”
“Oh, so she’s old,” he said.


Generally growing old doesn’t bother me. I’m quite grateful that I get to be this age (whatever age that might be), because people I love didn’t ever reach this age.

But being reminded of the fact that I’m hopelessly out of date? A relic, even? That’s some cold ass shit.

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  1. tito 26.Apr.11 at 1:33 pm


  2. Doug 27.Apr.11 at 12:03 am

    I’m old enough to have actually had a checkbook that I had to balance!

    Also, when you said “down in a hole” what came to mind for me was Alice In Chain’s song of that name, not “Down In It”; I’m not even following the proposed soundtrack for this post correctly.

    I’m old.

  3. Bonnie 27.Apr.11 at 10:24 pm


    Just a random passerby.

    Wanted to say that I enjoy everything that is happening here. I’m pretty much constantly referencing the late 80’s and 90’s. SO, I hear all this.

    Unrelated, but I noticed in your little bio thingie you’ve said that you like gin. I feel the need to spread the gospel of Hendrick’s, if you’ve never had it, you really ought to.



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