Folks, I have noted a disturbing trend. It is not by any means new. But it has gone on too long. It needs to stop.
At first it was funny.
“Want to feel old?” every headline asked.
Want to feel old? Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT) turns 32 today! http://t.co/sfiiLpWpx7
— HuffPost Celebrity (@HuffPostCeleb) September 8, 2013
Want to feel old? Britney and Justin broke up over a decade ago. — OMG Facts CELEBS (@OMGFactsCelebs) June 30, 2013
in case you want to feel old, Friends is on Nick at Nite’s lineup now
— Jessica Misener (@jessmisener) February 21, 2013
Sometimes they don’t even make sense:
Want to feel old? The first time someone ordered a pizza with a computer was 1974. http://t.co/3KMlEtXu
— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) January 23, 2013
Why does that make me feel old? That should make pizza orders with computers feel old, not me.
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) September 5, 2012
Want to feel old?
No. No I don’t. Who do you think I am, Bizarro Peter Pan? Kirsten Dunst’s character in “Interview with a Vampire?” The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, forever trapped in amber at 17, 18, and 16 respectively? Literally anyone on the comics pages?
Look, I didn’t sell my soul for this. I don’t have a horrible, suppurating painting in my attic so I can feel old every time someone wants to attract a few page views. This is not up for what I signed!
But these compilations of “Things That Will Make You Feel Old” come on relentlessly. Want to feel old? Here are some children seeing a Walkman for the first time!
Some sensations are pleasurable. Smelling pie. Eating pie. Talking to pie. Taking a picture of yourself next to a pie and then tagging the pie. Pie, in general.
Feeling old? No, unless you’re really into replacement hips and the sense that something horrible has happened to pop music.
Stop asking us to feel old! That is the opposite of what I want. Snoop Dogg (Lion?) thinks it’s a bad idea. “One thing about an old man,” he notes, “he don’t ever want to feel like he old.”
Even Buzzfeed, which got on the trend early with its high-scoring 2011 list of “40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old” didn’t quite understand why it sailed so far. “It really makes you feel old,” wrote Matt Stopera, noting the highest-scoring pieces of that year, “and for some reason people like feeling old.”
Why do we do this to ourselves?
I have a theory: Nostalgia, never out of fashion, comes on faster than ever, these days. Back in my day, as they say, it took a much longer time to feel nostalgia about anything. You wanted nostalgia, you had to wait for a countdown of Best Cotton Gins or Musical Artists From Before The Present. Now we get instant nostalgia, as fast as we want it. Hey, remember dial-up? Remember back when the Rectangular Object That Was Essential For Communicating With Your Friends And Hearing Music was DIFFERENT? Remember NOUN? It used to be here just a minute ago, but now it’s GONE FOREVER! Change happens at 1000 bpm. Or some number of bpm that is reasonable. I don’t know how record players work. Want to feel old? Well, here’s some NOSTALGIA, fresh and piping hot!
This question has even inspired a line of absurdist parody tweets and tweets that are just outright lies. “Want to feel old?”
Want to feel old? The potato was discovered in 1989.
— Musky Lozenge (@LostCatDog) October 8, 2013
Want to feel old? David After Dentist just turned 46.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) September 28, 2013
Want to feel really old? One week ago was already four weeks ago
— luke (@internetluke) August 1, 2013
The trouble with feeling old is that — like wearing big chunky glasses and drinking PBR, say– we started doing it ironically, and now we can’t stop. Even if we want to.
Why do you keep asking me this? Why do I keep clicking on it?
Want to feel old? “Want to feel old?” as a headline question has been around for years now. But I can’t feel nostalgic about it if it won’t go away.