Walking by my teenager’s room the other day, I heard an unmistakable reggae beat.
“Hey, is that The Police?”
“Not The Who. The Police.”
“Um, no Mom. It’s Bruno Mars.”
And so it went. I never feel my age quite as much as when I hear what’s on my daughter’s playlist. It’s just a larger symptom, however, of having fallen behind the curve of technology and pop culture itself. I remember black and white television and rotary phones. Google was just a funny word that referred to a number with a bunch of zeroes, and Wikipedia was an actual encyclopedia. Now, my kids look at me like I have three heads when I talk about those bygone days.
A few decades ago, I was hip. I swear it. Kate Bush and Bruce Springsteen were on heavy cassette rotation. I rocked the big hair, hoop earrings and black wardrobe like everyone else. And my first stereo system, with speakers the size of second graders, was the best out there.
Kate and Bruce qualify for AARP membership. More than one television show focuses on making over women with big hair, big hoops and black wardrobes. And stereo systems fit in the palm of your hand.
The signs of the hip-ocalypse were subtle at first. I didn’t recognize the moustached celeb in the “Got Milk” ads. I would buy a whole CD even though I only liked one song. And I couldn’t figure out why MTV — started by my generation — never played any actual music television.
But I refused to admit defeat until, despite a lifelong love of music, I could not recognize one artist in the Top 10. Why do some of them have dollar signs in their name, like Ke$ha? Don’t they know that Prince was the granddaddy of that trend by renaming himself an unpronounceable symbol in 1993?
Wait. Is Prince an actual granddaddy?
Lately, however, I’m finding that I’m not as tragic as I’d feared. Thanks to Glee, I know most of the songs my kids are humming these days. I get to explain that “Don’t Stop Believin’” was an actual song done by an actual band that could actually sing before it was a mangled mashup. Some of my older daughter’s ballet choreography is done to “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra — and no, they are not an actual orchestra.
I recently walked by my daughter’s room and heard a pulsing synthesizer. No, it couldn’t be. A blast from 1983?
“Hey, is that the Eurythmics?”
“No, not the — oh, never mind.”
I walked away humming Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” I’m not going to ask how she found the song. I’m just glad she did. A true classic never goes out of fashion — and for once, I’m hip.
Until the next time.