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Generation X References That Teenagers Today Just Don’t Get

By Katy M. Clark

I was sitting on the couch next to my teenage son. Growing cold, I reached out and grabbed the blanket by him. That’s when inspiration struck.

“Reach out, reach out and touch someone!” I sang as I leaned over him. “Reach out, reach out, and just say hi!”

He looked at me as though I had purple spaghetti noodles coming out of my nose.

“What?” I asked.

He continued to stare at me with a bemused expression.

Teenagers Today Don’t Get Us

That’s when it dawned on me. While I had plenty of attachment to the phone company’s catchy jingle from the 70s and 80s, my fourteen-year-old did not. It was just another example of a classic Generation X reference I use that he and his 11-year-old sister just don’t get. Teenagers today don’t understand a lot of what we think is hilarious.

Here are nine more Gen-X gems they’re missing out on:

Just say no.

I pull out this phrase, made famous by Nancy Reagan, every time I talk to my kids about drugs. Hey, it worked in the 80s!

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

Yes, I say this at the dinner table when I want someone to pass the mustard. No, my kids have no idea what I’m talking about, especially because we don’t have any Grey Poupon.

Nanu Nanu!

Why be a boring mom who just says hello to her kids when I can be a cool mom who uses this Orkan greeting made famous by Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy?

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.

This Almond Joy/Mounds jingle is perfect for when you are snacking on nuts and offer some to your teens. That’s because you can sing it whether they want some or not. Teens love it when their moms sing.

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

Sometimes when I’m walking down the street I break into this catchy phrase and start bobbing up and down just for fun. Laverne and Shirley would be proud, even if my kids are mortified.

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.

I whip out this Alka-Seltzer ditty whenever I pour a fizzy drink. It also works when I’m relaxing in the tub with a bath bomb. Mercifully, the kids are long past the stage of hanging out with me in the bathroom.

Here’s to good friends. Tonight is kinda special.

My husband and I crack ourselves up when we use this classic Lowenbrau line with a toast at the dinner table. The kids just tune us out.

Be kind, rewind.

There is an emphasis on kindness in today’s schools. Yet, perhaps Generation X really started the kindness movement, as we were encouraged to be nice to our VHS cassettes. Just a thought.

Wonder Twin powers: activate!

My kids are not twins. However, that does not prevent me from shouting this out when I want them to work together. They should just be thankful I didn’t name them Zan and Jayna after the original Wonder Twins.

Even though my kids don’t get any of these Generation X references, I don’t let that stop me from using them. Like, totally. Gag me with a spoon.

Katy Clark

Katy M. Clark is a writer who embraces her imperfections as a mom at Experienced Bad Mom, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.