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.
Geneva Convention.
10-10 phone numbers.
Red and yellow flags at gas stations.
Green stamps.
Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature.
Card catalog.
Carbon paper, or just carbons.
Mimeograph.
Ibid.
Johnny Carson.
Roll down the windows.
Three on a tree.
Moldy Babylonian God.
Non-smoking flight.
Summer reruns.
Yosemite Sam.
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.
“B” movie.
“B” side.
Gatefold album cover.
Hit single.
Orson Welles.
Ford Pinto.
Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.
Op-Ed.
Ancient Chinese Secret, we need more Calgon.
Betty Furness, and/or Amana RadarRange.
“You get a car! And you get a car!”
Westinghouse.
Ma Bell.
Lowering the pitcher’s mound, and/or Sandy Koufax.
Washington Senators.
AMC Gremlin.
Senator Stannis.
G. Gordon Liddy.
Yalta.
“Sliding Doors.”
Sanka.
The Department will disavow any knowledge.
Microfilm.
Fallout shelter.
Throwing up on high-ranking Japanese officials.
Emily Post.
You’ve come a long way, baby.
Percolator.
Standard Oil.
Jose Canseco.
Blofeld.
Drip pan.
Wash and set, and/or Dippety Do.
Kenneth Branaugh.
Robert Heinlein.
Ravi Shankar, and/or Concert for Bangladesh.
Drawing-room mystery.
Jeeves.
Foxhole.
“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).
Casey Stengal.
Joe Namath and pantyhose.

Pennsylvania 6-5000.

I swear, it’s getting so I can’t even tell a joke anymore.

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