Saturday, July 18, 2009

As If I Didn't Know I Was Old...

So, I'm chatting tonight at my wife's family reunion in (extremely) suburban St. Louis with a 19-year-old guy, a 17-year-old girl and a 13-year old guy, and these things happen:

The older guy starts talking about latching onto the back of a car while riding a skateboard, and I blurt out, "Didn't Michael J. Fox do that in Back to the Future?" Of course, that movie is about 25 years old now...but, luckily for me, all the kids had seen it (and, yes, apparently he did do that in the movie).

A bit later on, the girl starts talking about seeing some guy break another guy's arm in one of those "mixed martial arts" spectacles. She goes a bit into the martial arts moves the guy used, and I spit out, "Did he sweep the leg?" Blank stares. Karate Kid. Also about 25 years old now. From what I could tell, all three had sort of heard of it but hadn't seen it. This time, it was awkward.

And then there was the discussion of how the girl, who lives in Rockford, Ill., met Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick (excellent--a band I recognize and like) and got a guitar pick from him. (Cheap Trick, of course, hails from Rockford.) Now, I'm thinking of Mike Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High trying to sell a girl tickets to a Cheap Trick concert and saying, "What about the tunes? Mommy's alright, Daddy's alright, they just seem a little weird...the dream police na na na na na na na..." Fortunately, discretion got the better of me, and I let that 27-year-old movie reference rattle around in my brain without it coming out of my mouth.

Of course, just prior to that, I had called Rockford "Rockville" (stone cold sober, I might add--maybe that was the problem) because I briefly got it mixed up with the town in that old REM song "Don't Go Back to Rockville." I said something about saying "Rockville" because of the old REM song guessed it...blank stares. Ugh.

They're great kids, all three of them, and we really had a nice conversation. I enjoyed their company immensely. But it was hard to not feel like their dad at times (especially since one of them is 13 and was born the year I graduated college). Stuff like this is happening to me more and more often, and I'm only 35. Alas. I either need to update my pop-culture references or just play the role of the goofy older guy when I'm around teens. I think the latter of those choices sounds like the wiser.

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