And Now You Know More: Things You People Think Only Boomers Know About and They No Longer Need


By Thomas Best

I recently saw a website with the somewhat unsettling title of “What Baby Boomers Know that Young People no Longer Need to Know.” At first, I wanted to laugh, scoff at, or just dismiss the reasoning. By the time I was done reading, I felt a various emotional levels ranging from acceptance, ambivalence, and disgust.

One of the first slides featured a person reading a printed map.  As someone who taught geography for decades, I thought—“Get rid of paper maps”—no way!  After all, I am still one of those folks who buys the yearly updated “Rand McNally Atlas” and still plans trips with brochures and local maps spread out in front of me.  How could we ever reject the printed map? Then I paused and thought.  Oh yes, I guess I do increasingly rely on my phone’s GPS to keep us on the right road during my wife’s and my excursions. In fact, Pam, and I refer to our faithful directional voice, as “Susan.” This female navigator is usually right. And listening to her is a lot easier than—as I once did—in draping a road map over the front dash. Heaven help me, if the map folded up and fell to the floor.

Another one of the slides stressed how the fading used of “land lines” was going to the way of the old rotary phone. Maybe you have seen the cute commercial where a rotary phone is given to a modern child and asked to place a call. I laugh when the child thinks they have it in placing a call this “rotisserie” phone. Of course, we pitched our land line several years ago when it seemed that the only calls that came over that line were from telephone scammers. I don’t go anywhere now without my smart phone.

Finally, if you still have analog clocks on your wall, yes, you might be a boomer. I know when I was teaching, we still had these clocks on our school walls. When I said, in response the frequent question of when class was over, about a “quarter until 2 or so,” the student would typically reply “what does that mean?”  Even if I clarified myself, saying something like “15 minutes before 2 o’clock,” I was still going to receive a puzzled look.  So, I usually gave in and said “1:45.” “Why couldn’t you just say that the first time” was a common frustrated response.  And yes, today, my fit bit has a digital clock, as does my stove, microwave, and my SUV. We have only one analog left in the house.  It’s a lovely one that in our remodeled bathroom that my wife mainly agreed to because it matches the pattern of the wallpaper.

So, there you have it from a baby boomer, myself. Thanks for listening.  

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