So today was Taco Tuesday. That’s the name of the weekly 2-tacos-chips-and-a-drink special at one local quick service restaurant. A group of us from the office headed that way for lunch.
Today’s merry band included a couple of folks new to the office. We got our food quickly and were talking around the table. Turns out one of them graduated in 2007, and the other in 2008. Not college, mind you — high school.
Now while the Walrus is hardly what one would call “old,” let’s just say there’s a significant span of years between my graduation from Walrus World High and these guys. OK, fine, the youngsters probably WOULD call me old. So be it.
I did my best to avoid muttering “whippersnappers” under my breath. And then I thought about the generational differences. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those “when I was your age, I walked to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways, to write on the cave wall,” rants.
No, the remarkable thing about the lunch conversation with the younger guys was in fact how LITTLE some things have changed. They went to the same school as another coworker at the table, although he’s a few years older than they. So they were able to talk about teachers they’d had in common. At one point, they laughed about a teacher qualified in one field who had been assigned to teach a subject he was utterly clueless about.
Guess what? I had more than one science class when I was in high school that was taught by a teacher who had been an English major. She was cheerfully clueless about the nuances of science, but she tried her best.
Sure, technology marches inexorably on. I typed term papers on a clattering old electric typewriter. The younger folks have never known a life without personal computers. Moving forward another generation, today’s middle schoolers doubtless have no idea that the iPhones in their pockets pack more computing power than the room-size mainframes NASA used for the Apollo moon landing. That’s just a fact of life.
But I have no doubt those same middle schoolers will someday have memories of at least one teacher like the ones we were talking about at lunch. The basic experiences of life don’t change even as the technology around us does. Ask Shakespeare about that one.
And sometimes things come full circle. My grandmother was born before Pluto was recognized as a planet. She’s lived long enough to see Pluto be demoted from planethood.
So we all have something in common, no matter how old or young. Now if those crazy kids would just get off my lawn….