That’s it. I’m old.

As is my wont, earlier today I was noodling around the Internet.  While on the one hand I lament how disconnected I’ve become from some of the “old media” I used to enjoy (on which I will write more in an upcoming STQ), on the other hand one of the truly marvelous things about our age is that you can stumble across something you’d never have otherwise encountered simply by wandering through the Web from the familiar comfort of your favorite chair (which is also something I plan to write more about one of these days).

So this morning some of my noodling was over at Huffington Post.  While I don’t love HuffPo and find it full of sensationalism and lackluster writing and thinking, it does serve as a pretty good aggregator of stuff I might miss otherwise.  (I feel somewhat similarly about The Dish, but will grant that Andrew Sullivan actually has valuable stuff to say in his own right on occasion.  And hey, he linked to me the other day, so I should be grateful.)  I don’t know what it was about this link that caught my eye, but whatever it was I clicked on it.

This is the opening paragraph that greeted me:

At the end of a Saturday interview with Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire of Major Lazer during the second weekend of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, I mentioned my upcoming conversation with 2 Chainz, scheduled for later in afternoon.

Friends, I recognize exactly two of the proper nouns in that sentence.  One of them is “Saturday,” so it doesn’t count.  While I know of Coachella, I don’t know what kinds of acts play there or anything much about it.  (I know more about Lilith Fair, Lollapalooza or [God help me] Woodstock than I do about Coachella.)

I haven’t the foggiest idea of what Diplo, Jillionaire, Walshy Fire, Major Lazer (those are two different things, right?  Or is Walshy Fire of Major Lazer all one thing?) or 2 Chainz are.  And while I could probably have sussed some of that out if I’d finished the article, the needle had already been dragged across the LP of my mind and the song was over.  (Look it up, young people.)

What I gathered from that opening paragraph is “Russell, this article is not for you.  Go lie down somewhere.”

So thank you, Internet.  You have reminded me of that vast gulf that separates me from Kids These Days.  I had managed to fool myself into thinking I wasn’t totally out of touch by knowing the occasional new tune on the radio and keeping abreast of current celebrities by reading hilarious fashion websites.  I still get carded regularly when I buy beer.  “Not that old” was the way I thought of myself.

But no.  No, like Saul of Tarsus, the scales have fallen from my eyes.  I am old.  There is naught to be done but accept it.  Thank you for the wake-up call, HuffPo.  It’s for the best that I knew.

And now I need to go lie down.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. Music brings out the same feelings in me. At 26 years of age I’m ready to be put out to pasture :(. I recognized the same words and their meanings as you. Perhaps I need to get out more.

    • Likewise. Except I don’t recognize Coachella or Lilith Fair either.

      • I went to Lilith Fair when it played outside the city where I attended medical school. I observed:

        Mary Chapin Carpenter was the only headliner I’d choose to spend time with in real life.

        Fiona Apple (whose music I love) seemed young and super nervous.

        Sarah MacLachlan (true fact: cousin of one of my best friends!) referred to the moon as “Sister Luna,” which I found really annoying. But she called the city where I lived “a pretty groovy city,” which I found awesome and still use to describe the city to others. (It was one of the triggers for my use of the word “groovy,” which persists to this day.)

        Paula Cole (remember Paula Cole?) did a really, really kick-ass cover of “Jolene.” Best song of the night.

  2. it happens, mang. and it’s not a bad thing. it’s really not! you only got so much room in your brain and a lot of that should be doctor stuff anyway and whatever millicent is into these days (doilies and prim disapproval, i would assume?) and your favorite tv shows.

    there’s only so much time in so many days to have so many things. it’s why i don’t watch tv or go to movies. i need that room for upcoming crpg kickstarters and whenever the new gridlink album is coming out. and babysitting. i got a human to instruct in hopefully not bad ways.

    [though i will always rep for diplo (not so much major lazer, though i like the concept in theory) as he is a cherished acquaintance from back when the internet was still mostly* and we were all younger still]

    • I thought some of his MIA stuff was OK. Not so much a Major Lazer fan.

      I also rather liked Florida when it came out, though I have no listened to it in lo these many years.

      IIRC it struck me somewhat as the Boom Bip debut did, as (mad) decent moody post-Shadow instrumental hip-hop/electronic type crossover records.

      I think I will put it on now…

      • Yeah, Florida was good! Why’s he sellin’ cell phones and stuff now?

      • Stop that this instant! The both of you! I’m not certain what it is that you’re saying, but I’m sure it’s up to no good and the devil’s handiwork and taking valuable time away from more worthwhile pursuits like philately and self-denial.

        Also, get off my lawn.

        • If you say it in a certain lecherous way, “philately” SOUNDS sort of dirtily-exciting…

          • it is totally weird to see someone you knew back when in a blackberry commercial. esp now it’s all what man blackberry more like nolongerinbusinessberry.

            i don’t know if the good doctor enjoys the dancing arts but i bet he would have loved a mad decent set. they were ridiculosity.

            “And Millicent prefers to call them “antimacassars.””

            wikipedia just informed me that i have a new favorite word. awesome.

  3. Say what you will about Justin Bieber, I can at least say “oh, he’s another Leif Garrett” and the world makes sense again.

  4. Sorry, Russell, I’m not buying that you’re old yet.

    First, one of the refreshing things about working with a horde of 18-22 year olds is that I don’t beat myself up about being old nearly as often as you would expect. I guarantee you that 1/4 of my student workers would’ve had the same disinterested needle-scratch reaction you did (despite only about 1/8th of them knowing what that metaphor means) … and another 1/4 (possibly non-overlapping) prefer Lollapalooza (or even old videos of Woodstock!) to Coachella. You know, if they are going to be into old people festivals. Instead of something like, say, Burning Man (which they think of as a “not old people” thing and are always amazed that a handful of my friends are Burners. “YOUR friends???” That does make me feel a bit old. Anyway!).

    ‘Cause my second thing is that Coachella skews more “hipsters in their late 20s-early 30s” than it does “not-old people”, anyway, and it’s turning 15 next year (and I point that out with love – lots of acts I like play there). You not knowing who these musicians in the article are is you not being into obscure weird stuff that you probably weren’t into in 1999 either.

    I think pop culture is just a lot more distributed than it used to be.

    • (Meh, now I feel the need to point out that when I say “they” about Burning Man, I am once again only talking about 1/4 of the group. They are diverse! And weird in the best possible ways! And remind me regularly that many of the things I think of as “old people problems” when I see myself doing them are just … ways that people are, at any age.)

    • I will remove the cool washcloth from my forehead and rise from my fainting couch to shakily type “Thank you, Maribou” before helping myself to a lozenge and lying back down.

  5. On an utterly tangential topic, one of the times Jaybird came to visit me in Montreal, he took me to Lilith Fair… we still have one of the t-shirts even though it doesn’t fit either of us and there are very few places you can really wear a t-shirt with a naked archetype on it these days.

    *swoons nostalgically*

  6. I don’t know any of these bands either.

    I think out of all entertainment options. Music is probably the most niche and hardest to keep up with in all genres.

    My officemates don’t know any of the bands I listen to and I am often only dimly aware of the stuff they listen to. I tend towards indie rock. They tends towards hip-hop, etc.

    • I was never much into “innovative” music–probably lack of curiosity. I’m more into what are now called “oldies,” and listen to the local radio station that plays music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and sometimes early ’90s.

      • Do classic rock stations still play six songs only?

        I haven’t listened to radio in a long time except NPR. This is a shame but most of the music I like tends not to be found on radio.

        One of my getting away from it all day dream careers is graveyard shift as a DJ. Talking to all the lonely souls.

        I am a morning person but I have an odd fascination with the graveyard shift and what it would be like to live a life in the wee hours.

        • Linkin Park, Evanescence, Foo Fighters… they’ve started moving AFI into the rotation, though.

          • I don’t care much for three of those four bands and am only medicore on the Foo Fighters.

          • I don’t care much for three of those four bands

            Start listening to the “really oldies”.

            Unless you don’t care much for the Nirvana, the Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers or, hey,! the Blind Melon released Tones of Home in 1992! That’s an awesome song.

  7. you kids turn down the volume on your internet thread right this minute…..i’m trying to watch my shows. (shakes fist at passing cloud)

  8. I’m guessing the Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire fans have never heard of Telemann or Corelli, so I’m not feeling deprived.

  9. I’m 26 and I don’t know what any of those words are (aside from “Saturday”), so I’m not sure it’s related to age.

  10. “…those are two different things, right? Or is Walshy Fire of Major Lazer all one thing?”

    And still you hate the Oxford comma? It is YOU who has embraced modernity in a deeply unsettling way.

    • An Oxford comma would have offered no solace. I don’t know if “Walshy Fire” is a person who belongs to “Major Lazer” or if “Walshy Fire of Major Lazer” is an especially inscrutable band name.

      The Oxford comma is the buttoned top button of the shirt of the grammar world.

      • Heh… I realized that after I posted…

        But I couldn’t object more strongly than I do. Not only does it guarantee to avoid confusion, but it simply looks better. It is much more aesthetically pleasing.

        And button up your damn shirt… what are you… Italian?

        • Sometimes the Oxford comma introduces confusion.

          But more often than not, it helps avoid it.

          What a better world it would be if the written language structure were formulated by mathematicians.

        • I agree that the Oxford comma prevents confusion more than it creates it. But it works best only if it’s used consistently. If it’s used inconsistently, then it’s hard to know whether it’s being used or not.

  11. I think I’ll go listen to some Pat Martino. I doubt any of those bands mentioned have guitar players that know their way around the instrument better than Pat.

  12. My brother doesn’t like new stuff. It’s regrettable. I have more to talk about with his son than him. His son got all my old signal processing effects and a few of my old keyboards.

    Kids these days are making some great music. It’s pointless trying to keep up with it all. Thank the powers for Rhapsody: Major Lazer produces similars to:

    Azealia Banks / Bomba Estereo / Buraka Som Sistema / M.I.A. / Mr. Vegas / Snoop Lion

    And gives me Get Free (feat. Amber of Dirty Projectors), a band I know and like. Never heard of this duo before and already found a tune I enjoy. M.I.A I know, too, sorta. Before I even hit Play, I know this is Caribbean sorta dubb-ish house. Oh, I see this is Switch, via Santogold become Santigold.

    One of the best aspect about old is when you realise cool doesn’t matter. When cool mattered, it was mostly about Follow The Leader anyway. Nobody follows me and I don’t follow anyone else. The cute young things don’t look at me as a peer any more. Haven’t looked at me in decades. But I can look at them as they grow, as I was watched in my turn by older musicians, older writers, older artists.

    I really do like what I see in young people. They’re making so much music. Used to be hard work to get recorded, expensive too. Getting a record pressed and getting it to market took a deal with some seriously predatory assholes. Now anyone with the talent can put out interesting, well-recorded stuff and attract a listenership. Thus do I make old man noises.

  13. I’ve never liked the music popular among my age cohort, so I’m completely immune to this. But it will be a dark, dark day for me when college girls stop making eyes at me.

    • But it will be a dark, dark day for me when college girls stop making eyes at me.

      That day will come. A few years ago, while I was taking some graduate classes, and was going into the student center to grab some lunch, an attractive young lady leaped to open the door for me and gave me a smile that was unmistakably, “You so remind me of my dad!”

      • Man, I manage accounts for 300+ freshmen every year. A few years ago all their submitted temporary passwords contained their birth year, and it was the year I started college. Then it was the year I finished college.

        They all look so damn young.

        • It was bad enough when grizzled veteran ballplayers started being younger than I am. Presidents is going way too far. (It helps a little that we don’t really know when he was born.)

      • That day will come.

        Take that back! Take it back, you son of a bitch!

        To be honest, I’m surprised it hasn’t already. Not too many more years now…

        • Then there’s the sort of opposite effect. My daughter eventually became one of those college girls, and I discovered that the protective feelings I had about her carried over to some extent to all the women of that age. I realized that it had happened when I was standing in a line on campus behind a very pretty young woman who was wearing her pajamas and, quite obviously, nothing under them, and my first impulse was to ask her, “Young lady, does your father know you are out in public dressed like that?”

          • To torture my office mate today, I put on “Oops, I Did It Again”. Of course, I don’t own that song, so I got it off of the youtubes.

            And then I happened to tab over to the video and I thought, “Jesus, she looks like she’s 14 in this video.” And then I thought, “My daughter is going to look like that someday.”

  14. I have to admit ignorance regarding Coachella.

    It sounds like a purse knock-off, to be honest.

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