Here are some of the phrases that mean nothing to my students — at least to the majority of them, who were born sometime after 1990. This is purely anecdotal — each item made it on the list based on the blank stares I’ve gotten in class.
Zapruder film, and/or Texas School Book Depository.
10-10 phone numbers.
Red and yellow flags at gas stations.
Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature.
Carbon paper, or just carbons.
Roll down the windows.
Three on a tree.
Moldy Babylonian God.
I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George.
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.”
Vertical hold knob on the TV.
Gerald Ford falling down, and/or Chevy Chase.
Gatefold album cover.
Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.
Ancient Chinese Secret, we need more Calgon.
Betty Furness, and/or Amana RadarRange.
“You get a car! And you get a car!”
Lowering the pitcher’s mound, and/or Sandy Koufax.
G. Gordon Liddy.
The Department will disavow any knowledge.
Throwing up on high-ranking Japanese officials.
You’ve come a long way, baby.
Wash and set, and/or Dippety Do.
Ravi Shankar, and/or Concert for Bangladesh.
“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
Save a Gallon of Gas a Week.
Crying Native American looking at litter from horseback.
Bring Out Your Dead.
John Hancock (colloquially).
The Stone Pony (and we live in New Jersey).
Joe Namath and pantyhose.
I swear, it’s getting so I can’t even tell a joke anymore.