55 Things That Kids Growing Up Today Won’t Know

1. That feeling of getting out a VHS tape and then being so fucking mad when the last person who used it didn’t rewind it

2. What 9/11 is

(Note: An old mentor of mine teaches a course in International Studies to college freshmen, and most of them already had no idea; they know that it’s a thing, but they don’t really “get it”)

3. That all technological problems can be solved by just blowing into the cartridge

4. How exciting it is to unwrap that Blink-182 CD you’ve wanted so badly on Christmas morning and then rip open the plastic with your teeth

5. That real friendship meant having the persistence to find your friend’s number in the phonebook (Or you could just ask them, but what fun is that?)


6. The frustration of going all the way to Blockbuster to get the movie you’ve been waiting forever to see — but then it’s all sold out

7. That only the coolest of cool people had cellphones, which is why they flipped open to announce your coolness or were the size of a brick

8. The feeling of being chained to the landline for an hour while you talk to your BFF because the cord only lets you walk within a one-foot radius of the phone

9. What it’s like to wait months for your favorite movie to come out on video because you couldn’t illegally download it in the meantime or didn’t come out two days after it left theatres

10. The feeling of not knowing the answer to a question because you can’t ask Siri and you can’t settle an argument by looking it up

Flickr/Hugo Kessler
Flickr/Hugo Kessler

11. That you’re lost without having TVGuide to tell you what’s on tonight

12. The weird sense of panic when the phone rings because you don’t know who’s calling you because you don’t have Voice Mail and just saw Scream for the first time

13. That MTV used to stand for “Music Television” and now stands for “Mutilated Trash Vortex”

14. When a telephone psychic seemed like the most wise and intuitive person in the world, until she was a total fraud

15. The feeling of getting lost and having to consult a map to show you the way, like a folded-up paper oracle

Flickr/Kitty Terwolbeck
Flickr/Kitty Terwolbeck

16. How sad you were when you slavishly went through the encyclopedia just to find out that it wasn’t there to begin with

17. Making the perfect mix CD — after obsessing over just the right mix of Limp Bizkit and Korn — just to break it out on the bus and find out it doesn’t work

18. Being able to “Super Size” your order and not a fuck about the calories

19. What it’s like to obsessively memorize the phone number of the person you like so you never forget it, even on your death bed

20. That Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan used to be so freakin’ adorable

Flickr/Hot Rod Homepage
Flickr/Hot Rod Homepage

21. The agony of listening to a song on the radio and never finding out what it is because you didn’t have a phone or Sirius XM to tell you

22. That Tuesday nights are best spent blogging countless hours about your every emo thought on Livejournal or Xanga

23. The excitement at cancelling all your plans to make sure that you were right in front of the TV for the new episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch

24. That having a beeper makes you important and worthy of respect

25. When you lose ten minutes of your life accidentally staring at your screensaver, while you watch the pipes connect or wonder when you’re ever going to get out of the endless maze of life (Note: The 90s were way existential)


26. That sliding the metal part of the floppy disk was the most unintentionally enjoyable way to spend .5 seconds of your time

27. What a pain it is to get your Nickelodeon Gak out of the carpet

28. That Jennifer Aniston used to be that girl on TV and George Clooney was just a handsome doctor with a great haircut

29. You could learn about the culture of other countries just by watching Global GUTS

30. That Kel Mitchell is an immortal comic genius and Lori Beth Denberg was the original Melissa McCarthy

Lori Beth Denberg/All That
Lori Beth Denberg/All That

31. That the best possible way to spend your Friday night is prank calling every single person you know, only to giggle before you can get a single word out

32. What *NSYNC, Green Day or the Spice Girls are

33. The patience it took to wait for your favorite song to play on the radio and then pounce the second you heard it so you could tape it

34. How it felt to flip through countless pages of your CD book searching for your Creed album and never, ever be able to find it

35. That when you made plans with someone you had to mean it because you couldn’t text them at the movie theatre to say you were blowing them off


36. The wave of emotions when you created your first Geocities, Angelfire or MySpace page after you spent weeks meticulously designing it

37. How horrifying it is to recording your favorite show on VHS and have someone accidentally tape over it before you watch it

38. The waiting game of sitting around after school for your friends to get on AIM

39. The frustration of looking for the exact book you need hidden in the card catalogs

40. What it means to live in fear of your Dell computer’s blue screen of death


41. That Moviefone used to refer to a very helpful, clear-voiced gentleman and not a website

42. The sadness you felt when your favorite game froze, just as you were about to beat the level you’d been working on for weeks.

43. What it’s like to not being able to watch Saturday morning cartoons because the signal keeps getting scrambled

44. That cereal isn’t cereal unless it comes with a prize at the bottom

45. When you having to record a family answering machine on your landline and then hear that annoying message for what feels like rest of your motherfucking life


46. The care you put into those extravagantly detailed notes you passed during 8th grade English class, because you couldn’t just the cute guy across from you and you had to put work into it

47. The utter madness of a CD that won’t stop skipping no matter what you do

48. The feeling of soul-crushing devastation when you lose all your pogs to the guy with the bigger slammer

49. When you have to wait seemingly forever for your photos to get developed at the local grocery store and then find out all of your pictures sucked to begin with

50. That Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t just that guy from Inception; he’s the guy who taught us how to fly and who we’ll never let go


51. When you have to stand longingly by your landline telephone like an elegant statue, waiting for your crush to finally call

52. The blind rage of not being able to use the Internet because your Mom wouldn’t get off the phone

53. The annoyance of running out of minutes on your Nokia Tracfone and having to go buy more

54. The art of sharpening your pencil really slowly so you didn’t interrupt the entire classroom during a test

55. That there used to be an age where you were considered too young for a cell phone Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Flickr/smenzel

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