To My Son, Kyle and the Class of 2015


With my son Kyle, entering college this fall he’ll be a member of the Class of 2015. For him, Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

His classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern’s daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information super highway.

2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be his friend’s parents.

3. States and his parents have always required he wear his bike helmet.

4. The only significant labor disputes in his lifetime has been in major league sports.

5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.

6. He “swipes” his debit cards — not the merchandise.

7. He’s grown up on websites and cell phones and most adults in his life have constantly fretted about his alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

8. His school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

9. “Don’t touch that dial!” What dial?

10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

11. More Americans traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

12. Amazon never been just a river in South America.

13. Refer to LBJ, and he might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.

14. All his life, Whitney Houston has been declaring, “I Will Always Love You.”

15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

16. Women have never been too old to have children.

17. Japan has always been importing rice.

18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

21. He’s always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.

22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

25. Video games have always had ratings.

26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.

27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

31. Women have always been kissing women on television.

32. Older kids have told him about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

34. He’s always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little wacko.

36. He spent his bedtime on his back until he learned to roll over.

37. Music has always been available via free downloads.

38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.

39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.

41. The United States has always been shedding fur.

42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.

44. He’s part of the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

45. He pressured his parents to take him to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

46. Russia’s courts have always had juries.

47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.

48. While he’s been playing outside, we’ve always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

50. Some of his peers have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

52. His parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.

54. He’s grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.

56. His friends always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael who?

57. His friends have broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.

58. His parents remember Woolworths as a store that used to be downtown.

59. Kim Jong Il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.

61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild-card entry in the playoffs.

62. Nurses have always been in short supply.

63. He won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.

64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.

65. When he was 3, his parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.

66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.

67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi-Cola.

68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.

69. He grew up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.

70. He’s always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.

71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.

72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.

73. McDonald’s coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

74. “PC” has come to mean personal computer, not political correctness.

75. The New York Times and The Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

Good luck, Kyle. I’m very proud of you!

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