I’ve worked in the gaming industry for 6 years now. I started out as a temp and then just stayed. It was fun and fascinating and full of new edgy ideas. You know what else it was full of, people that are way younger than me. Even when I started at 34 years old, I was only the 3rd oldest in the company. Our CEO was only 26 at that time. Yes 26! When I was 26, I was performing murder mystery dinner theatre in Orlando, Florida for $50 and a free meal. But that’s for another blog.

So, how do I cope? I don’t worry about it because to me “age is nothing but a thing.” It always has been. Next thing you know, the company is growing. We hired a lot of testers and an intern or 2. I quite suddenly and emotionally realized that I’m old enough now to be all their mothers, that is if MTV’s Teen Mom was a show in the 1980s. They’re nice to me and polite but not that talkative with me in person. However, what is amazing is that we can have 5 minute conversations on AIM but as soon as I physically walk by there is no eye contact. Over AIM I am supercool and someone you want to talk to, but something changes when they see me in the real world. I realized AIM is our WOW. This has slowly changed over the years though. I’m quirky and say silly things that I think are funny and they actually laugh at my jokes even if it’s in a “oh no, grandma did NOT say that!” kind of way. Our conversations aren’t strictly AIM anymore. I feel like part of the group and not a former teen mom.

Not too long ago, we got a new marketing intern. She was a very smart, beautiful girl with incredible ideas. She was, in short, awesome. When she came on board she was the new youngster, straight out of college. She had to sit by me as I desperately hung on to my last years in my 30’s. There were a few others around us in their early 30’s. Most of the other 20 years olds were on the other side of the office. So she listened to us reminisce about 70’s cartoons and 80’s music and pop culture etc. She would smile when we would say, “Ah, c’mon, what do you mean you never heard of parachute pants?! Everyone had parachute pants in the eighties!” Then she would say, “well I was only 2 years old at the time.” Then we would say, “Dear Lord we are sooooooo old!” So you get the picture. There was no animosity or jealousy, just a lot of fun. UNTIL THAT day. THAT day where this kid did the unforgivable. It’s still hard for me to talk about. Here’s what happened. William Shatner had been reading poetry on Conan O’Brien and we were all laughing about it. We asked her if she had seen Shatner on the show. She turns around and says, “Who’s Shatner?” I laugh “Oh, come on, William Shatner!” She just smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The room fell silent. I said strongly, “You know, Captain Kirk.” Once again, the smiling and the shrugging of the shoulders. I said, “STAR TREK!” Nothing.

This changed everything for me. I don’t care if you can’t remember what parachute pants are or what an Easy Bake Oven is or a Cabbage Patch Doll (you’re probably better off on that last one. It was an embarrassing time). But, as an AMERICAN, you must know Captain James T Kirk from the Starship Enterprise.

So, that leads me to this Public Service Announcement. I will now impart to young America, things you need to know as a true American, no matter what age you are. Age is not an excuse! I’m not talking about the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty or how to sing Yankee Doodle. I’m talking about things that make you a part of the American community, the fabric of this great country of ours – okay now I sound like I’m running for office in 2012. Just make sure you know this partial list:

  1. William Shatner played Captain James Tiberius Kirk on Star Trek. He is now one of, if not the greatest, pop culture icons in America.
  2. Star Trek is philosophical and Star Wars is a space opera.
  3. You should know every president since you were born. Even better, since Kennedy, here I’ll help you: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama. Hey, I even know their Vice Presidents because that’s how I roll: Johnson, Humphrey, Agnew, Ford, Rockefeller, Mondale, Bush, Quayle, Gore, Cheney, Biden. BOOM! POW!
  4. These are not true American rock n’ roll bands: Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance or Nickelback (yes, I know the last one is Canadian, but they are truly awful).
  5. St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Valentine’s Day are not national holidays
  6. Ozzy Osbourne sang for Black Sabbath. He’s not just a doddering old man on an MTV reality show.
  7. MTV used to play music videos.
  8. If there has to be one, Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie.
  9. Transformers’ action figures were way cooler than any Michael Bay Movie.
  10. Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club still hold up.
  11. The term “Huxtable Sweater” came from Dr. Cliff Huxtable’s sweaters on The Cosby Show in the 80’s.
  12. Pong is the greatest video game invented of all time

You’re Welcome