Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 23

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 23rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on a now defunct blog of mine on August 23, 2011.

Lost in Translation

85A2A3CE-73D9-4027-AFFC-6A8DC67210F9“Home, James,” my wife said to me a few nights ago as we started our brief drive home from the restaurant.

Our son and daughter were sitting in the back seat of the car and our daughter asked my wife, “Why did you call him James?”

My wife and I looked at each other in disbelief. “Haven’t you heard that expression before?” I asked.

“No.”

“Well, it’s an old expression, and apparently a very dated one,” my wife said, “where ‘James’ is a chauffeur to some very wealthy person, who, sitting in the back seat of the carriage or limo, instructs her driver, ‘James,’ to take her home. It’s sort of a cliché, a reference to having someone do your bidding.”

“I still don’t get it,” our daughter said.

“I guess there’s a certain lost-in-translation factor when it comes to generational references,” I said. “Things that may have been relevant to an older generation have no meaning or context to a younger generation.”

This whole exchange got me thinking about cross-generational missed references, and not just within a family, but even in the workplace. After all, I’m an older guy and most of the people I work with are anywhere from 10 to 30 years younger than me.

How many times have I attempted to be witty or insightful by making a reference to something that no one else “got” because only those of my generation (i.e., early Baby Boomers) would recognize?

50688FBB-0D16-4800-94D8-C9B6EAE79CC2Why the awkward silence, I wondered, when I referred to someone who I thought acted like a mercenary gun for hire as “Paladin”? Didn’t these people ever watch “Have Gun Will Travel” back in the 50s?

I’ll never forget the time when I was talking about the film comedy team of Martin and Lewis and one of the thirty-somethings in the room said, “Oh, you mean the guys who explored the Louisiana Purchase, right?” Um, no, not even close.

Or when I mentioned “Ma Bell” and someone asked me whose mother I was referring to.

1CFCB8E3-5D25-4034-AF25-98D070A7021CHow about the blank stares when I commented, as our team was preparing for a finalist presentation for a prospective client, that we needed to make sure we were well rehearsed so that we didn’t come across like the Keystone Kops?  “Huh?  Who?  What?”

The other day someone asked me about an account I had worked on a few years ago and I said, “Hmm, that was quite a while ago. I think I’ll have to get into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine to refresh my memory.”

A334821A-B183-4082-A69C-BB1EC1443FFA“Mr. Peabody?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You know, Sherman and Mr. Peabody from Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

“Rocky and Bullwinkle?”

“Forget it. I’ll check the client file in my archived folders and get back to you.”

What once were relevant references from my generation too often fall flat on today’s Gen Xers and Millenials: TV test patterns, movie newsreels, 45s, 8-tracks, party-lines, rotary phones, Sputnik, Dr. Strangelove, Mr. Whipple, Bucky Beaver, Hi-Ho Silver, Kimosabe, Happy Trails, jump the shark.

Once, when something weird was going on, I sang the theme to the old TV show, “The Twilight Zone.” You know, “Nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee….” Nothing. No recognition.  The only weird things at that point were the looks I got from the others in the room.

Not that long ago, in the pre-mobile age, the term “landline” had no relevance and phones were never described as “smart.” Same with the word “download.” It had no applicable meaning. Neither did “emoji.”

Back then, being “online” meant queuing up in some long line, perhaps waiting to buy tickets to see the latest movie filmed in Todd-AO or CinemaScope. (Google it.)

A web browser could have been a phrase to describe someone who studied spider webs. A laptop was something a grandparent or parent might invite a child to climb up upon. Your desktop was merely the top surface of your desk. A mouse was an unwelcomed rodent…or a famous Disney character named Mickey.

Times change, technology changes, and, it seems, the language continually reinvents itself. Older references fade from consciousness and fresher, more contemporarily relevant ones emerge.

Maybe the post-Baby Boomer’s can’t relate to some of the expressions from my youth, just as I had trouble doing so to the expressions from an even earlier time (example: “23 Skidoo”; what the hell does that mean?).

But that’s okay. I’m down with that, which I think means it’s “groovy.”

24 thoughts on “Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 23

  1. sca11y August 23, 2019 / 3:36 am

    With Brexit plans (what plans?) going pear-shaped, we’ve had talk here of a GNU. I had to ask what that was. Surely not the animal? A Government of National Unity, not seen since Winston Churchill in WWII here, maybe never seen there? Party Politics suspended for the duration. No wonder I never knew (b 1967)!

    We still talk about “tapes” or “records” without thinking, but of course it’s all streamed now and kids have no idea what we’re on about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sca11y August 24, 2019 / 1:32 pm

      Incidentally I’m thinking of moving my blog to wordpress.com, and also changing my display name. If you start to see comments by “StrokeSurvivor”, or something similar, it’s me. But don’t hold your breath!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fandango August 24, 2019 / 4:08 pm

        It’s easier to read, follow, like, and comment on your posts if you’re on WordPress.

        Liked by 1 person

        • sca11y August 24, 2019 / 11:56 pm

          Yes, apparently also better search engine awareness. I’m also reading that it is better for eCommercy things, though I have no interest in that. I have even imported my old posts/comments into a test blog at wordpress.com. One of the things, though, is that Blogger is free, whereas wordpress.com costs, so I’d need to get my head around that. I’ve also found a setting which looks like Blogger will allow you to comment without needing a Google account. I’ve set that up and will monitor spam over the next few weeks. I’m finding more of these options as I look harder.
          See https://www.strokesurvivor.me.uk/2019/08/wordpress.html if you dare!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Fandango August 25, 2019 / 6:51 am

            I sent a “test” comment on your Blogger post. Let me know if it went through. Also, you CAN get a free WordPress.com blog. It has some limitations (e.g., storage, advertisements), but it is free. I do pay for a plan upgrade to overcome those issues. It’s the “personal” plan and it’s $48/year (or it was, it may have gone up in price since I subscribed). Also, you should be able to import your blogger posts to WordPress if you can create a compatible export file from Blogger. See this article: https://en.support.wordpress.com/import/coming-from-blogger/#import.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Stroke Survivor August 25, 2019 / 8:52 am

              No, I can’t see your comment, but… I just had the mother of all catastrophies today. It has taken me the last six hours on and off to sort. I was experimenting with migration, I have successfully migrated all my Blogger posts into a file on my computer. I went a step too far and imported this file by mistake, on top of my existing posts. So, I ended up with every post, duplicated! I’ve managed to get rid of the dups, but I had permalinks all over the place, and a lot of them went screwy. I’ve sorted the main links but there will be some embedded in posts which will be screwed still. Upshot is, I might have deleted your comment along the way! Bloody idiot! Me not you 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            • Stroke Survivor August 25, 2019 / 9:13 am

              Actually, wp.com wants £48 here too. Hmmmm…. £1 = $1 for them. Current exchange rate should cost me less, that’s naughty.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Paula Light August 23, 2019 / 6:38 am

    Funny! What trips me up are references to more recent TV shows “everyone” apparently watched except for me. The Big Bang Theory. How I Met Your Mother. Those Real Housewives things. All the reality shows. The dancing and talent shows. On and on…

    Like

  3. newepicauthor August 23, 2019 / 6:48 am

    Having a chauffer named James is like having a butler named Jeeves. I just did that song Paladin from Have Gun Will Travel. Nice post Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 23, 2019 / 10:17 am

      I remember that Paladin post — TV theme songs.

      Like

  4. Sadje August 23, 2019 / 9:37 am

    Even I don’t get some of the references though I was born in 1961.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen August 23, 2019 / 1:59 pm

    I was born right on the edge, sometimes in an author’s or researcher’s category for boomers… sometimes not. Colbert considers himself a boomer, and he was born after me; I’ll go with it. Additionally, I’ve done a lot of hanging out with people older than myself (and otherwise with people significantly younger like my kids and their friends — their friends generally being their ages and older). I had to look up the Paladin song; good to know. I’ve never used the “23 skidoo” expression, but I get it. I otherwise am familiar with the rest. I think the most disappointing confusion is the one you shared over Louis and Clark (and Jerry and Dean).

    Paladins is now a video game (with no discernable relation to a western as far as I can tell; I don’t know if the characters are hired guns). Too bad people don’t know about the old television shows and cartoons. They were fun. People have less commonality with current shows now, as everyone picks and chooses to more of an nth degree. I guess that’s fine. The wayback machine (and that universe of cartoons) at least has a tribute:

    http://www.wayback.com

    Liked by 1 person

      • Fandango August 23, 2019 / 4:10 pm

        The Internet Archives is physically located about six blocks from where I live in San Francisco.

        Like

        • Marleen August 23, 2019 / 4:26 pm

          Awesome!

          Internet history is fragile. This archive is making sure it doesn’t disappear

          Liked by 1 person

  6. leigha66 August 24, 2019 / 1:12 pm

    Lots of things lost through time… and how many kids would understand waiting for a dial tone to make a call? Or “snow” on TV… it is just a blue screen now if a channel doesn’t come in. Good post!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Marleen August 24, 2019 / 2:57 pm

        I can show people what snow is. I have a miniature tv with a built-in vhs player (as well as a few vhs tapes). One was given to each of my sons years — about two decades — ago by their GrandDad.

        Are there any ordinary television signals still being broadcast?
        There must be, right? They’re just wide-screen instead of more square.

        Liked by 1 person

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