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Today's Family Magazine

Old school pop culture references that my kids just don’t get

Mar 26, 2024 02:11PM ● By Today's Family

By Katy M. Clark

I was sitting on the couch next to my teenage son.  Growing cold, I reached out and grabbed the blanket that was near him.

That's when inspiration struck.

"Reach out, reach out and touch someone!"  I sang as I leaned over. "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 both bemusement and shock.

That's when it dawned on me.  While I had plenty of attachment to the phone company’s catchy jingle from the last millennium, my 14-year-old did not.  It was just another example of an old school pop culture reference I used that he and his younger sister just didn't understand.

Here are nine more old school pop culture references that they don't get, either:

Just say no.
I pull out this phrase, made famous by Nancy Reagan, every time I talk to my kids about the dangers of 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 literally don’t have any Grey Poupon in the house.

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 phrase is perfect for when you are snacking on nuts and offer some to your kids.  That’s because you can sing it whether they want some nuts or not.  Kids, especially teens, just 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, now that my kids are older they are past the stage of following me into the bathroom.

Calgon, take me away!
Whenever life gets me down, I can escape from my worries by proclaiming this phrase just like they did in the Calgon commercials back in the day.
“Who’s Calgon?” my son once asked.

Be kind, rewind.
There is a huge emphasis on kindness in today's schools.  Perhaps us parents really started the kindness movement, though, because 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 phrase out whenever I want them to work together.  They should just be thankful I didn't name them Zan and Jayna after the original Wonder Twins.

There you have it, 10 old school pop culture references that my kids don't get.  I still enjoy using them, though.

Like, totally.  Gag me with a spoon.