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Chances are, if you don’t feel old now, one day you will — probably when some whippersnapper gives you a blank look in response to a cultural reference you’ve made.
Here are 25 things that could trigger that response from a person born in 2018.
1. Landline phones
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You can try to explain that the button they press on their cellphone when they want to make a call is based on what an actual phone used to look like — back when phones were tethered to walls by wires. The kids probably won’t understand why you would do that to a phone.
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Yes, there was a time before Uber — never mind driverless cars — when we’d stand on the sidewalk and wave at oncoming traffic in the hope that someone in a yellow car would pull over and give us a ride.
3. Print media
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Trees used to have to die for you to read the newspaper. There were also things called magazines and catalogs.
4. Over-the-air television
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Before we had cable and satellite dishes, we had an antenna on the top of the TV (or on the roof). The antenna might need to be adjusted depending on which station you were watching. Maybe you can just explain it as the primitive version of Wi-Fi.
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The frustration of trying to find an edge so you can tear through the cellophane wrapper, the annoyance when the sticker part doesn’t come off just right, reading the liner notes — today’s kids will know none of that.
6. The ‘pound sign’
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Kids might never know that what is now called the “hashtag” used to be called the “pound sign,” or maybe the “number sign,” or what those phrases meant.
7. In-store shopping
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Today’s babies might never know a time when they had to leave the house to get things like clothes and food, instead of just having a drone bring those items to them.
8. Privacy and anonymity
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Photos of today’s kids will be on Facebook while they still have that new-baby smell. From there on, most everything they do, eat and think will be broadcast on the internet — first by their family, then by themselves.
9. Getting directions
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Back in the predigital age, you needed to know how to get where you were going before you left the house. And if that failed, you needed a map in the car or a clerk at a gas station to tell you which road to take.
10. Plain old coffee
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There used to be three options for coffee: cream or sugar, or both. Now, it can take almost as long to order a skinny, half-caf, grande moccachino with whip as it does to drink it.
11. Incandescent light bulbs
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Kids born this year will know only the glow of an LED, which uses a fraction of the electricity and probably won’t be replaced by a new form of lighting before they go to college.
12. Being unsupervised
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In recent years, a young brother and sister going to the playground without an escort started a national debate about the concept of “free-range” kids. If the pattern continues, 2018 kids might get some bathroom time alone. Might.
13. Circus elephants
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Ringling Bros. stopped using its iconic elephants in performances in 2016, two years ahead of the pachyderms’ planned retirement. The circus had been criticized, picketed and sued by animal rights groups over the elephants’ treatment.
14. Paper checks
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In an earlier time, there was no such thing as waving your phone at a hand terminal. Instead, people would more or less write down how much they owed on a piece of paper, sign it and give it to another person, who would take it to the bank and exchange it for money.
15. Worrying about someone who’s late
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You make plans to meet someone at a place and time. You get there on time, but your friend is late. In the past, there was no option of getting something like a text message to explain the person was stuck in traffic or had something else come up. You just had to sit there and wait until either the person showed up or you gave up.
16. A time before Michael Phelps
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Kids born in 2018 will live in a world where there has always been a swimmer with 23 Olympic gold medals and 28 Olympic medals overall.
17. Not knowing something
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Who was the 19th president? What’s the capital of Latvia? In the past, anyone who didn’t know the answer either had to go to the library, or maybe look it up in a home encyclopedia. Asking Siri was not an option. (Rutherford B. Hayes and Riga, by the way.)
18. Memorizing a phone number
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We used to memorize the phone numbers of friends, family and work so we wouldn’t have to look them up in a Rolodex every time. Now, you just remember your own, so you can give it to someone when you meet them the first time.
19. Phone books
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White pages and yellow pages mean nothing anymore. Searching for the number on the internet on your smartphone is faster, and your phone will offer to call the person automatically. Today’s kids also won’t know the joy of using a phone book or two as a booster seat.
20. How to spell
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In the good old days, if you didn’t know how to spell a word, you had to dig around through the pages of a dictionary until you found it. Now, you just have to get close enough so that the spellchecker has an idea of what you’re talking about.
21. Prank phone calls
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Caller ID has rendered this annoying childhood pastime more or less impossible.
22. Dial-up internet
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Oh, the early days of the internet! Back then, you could want to use the phone, but couldn’t because someone else was tying up the line to check their email.
23. Talking to the people you’re sitting with at dinner
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Today’s babies will know a world where it is socially acceptable for everyone to just slap their phones on the table at the start of the meal. They may not know of a time when family members would ignore the landline ringing because dinner with the people in front of them was more important.
24. Going to an arcade
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Yes, there was a time when video games were the size of a small closet, and each small closet could only play one game — and you had to go to a specific place, with a pocketful of quarters, to be able to play them.
25. Tom Petty, Mary Tyler Moore and Jerry Lewis
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Kids born in 2018 will never get to see Tom Petty play a concert, Mary Tyler Moore toss her hat or Jerry Lewis crack a joke.
What other things will be distant memories when the babies of 2018 start coming of age? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.