I am, by all accounts, a non-traditional student. I graduated high school in the 1990s and I am the proud mom of two kids. I have always felt right at home at TCU, even among my younger peers. However, it has come to my attention that perhaps one generation gap could provide many amusing misunderstandings.
I was assigned to a group in my Creative Communications class that I will have the rest of the semester. I was thrilled because my teammates are both whip smart and serious students. They are also in their early 20s, products of Generation Y who were probably being born while I was graduating high school.
While working on a campaign to keep college women safe from assault on campus, my partners referred to the would-be rapist by calling him a “creeper.” Didn’t you make that up? I wanted to use the good old standby, “pervert.” Both women dissolved into laughter and explained to me this was a word college women used frequently. I aged about five years just sitting there.
I called my brother who graduated college a couple of years ago and asked him about “creeper.” He clarified that it was, indeed, popular among college women. Where had I been? I had always prided myself on being up on trends and pop culture, but my age had prevented me from being down with the lingo.
While most of my peers are “LOL-ing,” I am changing diapers, so it’s no small surprise that I’m out of the loop. Last week while we worked on our project, I mentioned that I thought one of my ideas was “bunk” and I would rework it later. They both started laughing and asked me what “bunk” meant. It was all the rage in 1987! And yes, I still say it, and I am not quite sure what that says about me. I said it meant “bad or lame” and hung my head in shame. I felt so retro, like shag carpeting or my mom’s platform shoes.
When I told my boyfriend, he said he didn’t know why I still spoke like I was in seventh grade, and I should “try and talk like normal people.”
Maybe there should be a resource or Web site I could use to make sure my vernacular is up to speed before I embarrass myself again.
How can a one-generation gap mean that the sayings I grew up with are totally foreign to my younger friends?
So please be kind if you hear me saying something outdated, and maybe let me know what a cooler substitute would be. I didn’t grow up on the Internet, I’m still navigating Facebook and I do not, nor will I ever, “tweet.” But I can make an effort to sound like I didn’t step out of 1988 anymore. Wouldn’t that be boss?
Christi Aldridge is a senior strategic communication major from Hillsboro.