Do You Know These Things That Generation X Should Know?
By: Zoe Samuel
Image: Seattle Municipal Archives
About This Quiz
Generation X are in an interesitng position. They're all the people who were born between about 1965 and 1979. They're a small generation who came of age after the Baby Boomers but before the Millennials. That means they didn't bear the full brunt of hte Great Recession, as they were already somewhat established. However they didn't enjoy the full benefits of the glorious thirty-year period the Boomers had from 1945 to 1975, in which the economy reliably grew and a single income could support a family of four even if you had very little education. Generation X did see all of that happen during their childhoods, but they generally only got to live it for a brief period in the 1990s when the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet created an economic boost in their 20s.
The Boomers were thus mainly the generation who experienced the '80s as teenagers and young adults. That means they know all about the Rubik's Cube, MTV, leg warmers and really terrible hair styles. How well do you remember this period? Can you name all the members of the Brat Pack? Did you see The Little Mermaid in the theater? Let's find out!
What was the name of the famous anti-drug campaign the government ran?
Go Ahead, Everyone Does It!
Just Say No
Nobody listened to this campaign, as a cursory glance around a room full of 1980s Wall Street traders would prove. The government still kept it running for years.
How do you communicate a super-important thought to your friend mid-math class?
Pass a note.
Passing notes was risky because they were usually spotted and naturally, they'd have your handwriting in them, even if you weren't the one caught holding them. The best teachers knew when to pretend not to see them, however.
What should do you after you watch the VHS you've rented?
The motto was, "Be kind, rewind!" Some stores imposed a fee if you didn't rewind. Since getting a movie was a real hassle, people couldn't do much about this - but got revenge years later by all switching to Netflix.
Which visitor is trying to phone home, but needs more than a regular phone?
One of the Goonies
This sweet movie was one of the main hits of the decade. It is about an alien who needs to tell his friends where to find him, if he can just get a signal. Unfortunately, it was long before you could get a decent cellphone.
What do you call a ball on a string that you attach your your ankle then jump?
Everyone had a Skip-It in the '80s. The fancy ones could count the number of skips so you could use them for exercise - and some had a heavy enough ball on the end that you could also use them to whack other kids' ankles while feigning innocence.
In what room do you find the Dewey Decimal System?
The Dewey Decimal System is a way of tracking books. Before you could just scan them, they all had their own reference card and a system for locating them. Generation X were probably the last group of kids to learn it in school.
Bert and Ernie were long suspected to be a couple, but in the '80s, that wouldn't have been possible on TV. It's likely the makers of "Sesame Street" never intended anything else, but these days, it's fun to imagine what could have been!
Floppy discs are so named because they were actually floppy, though they were in a plastic sheath that protected them. The earliest ones known to Generation X were five inches and a quarter in size and contained practically nothing by today's standards.
What is the best way to carry around lots of papers?
In a bag!
Inside your huge perm
Trapper Keepers are so wholesome that it's hard to believe they were really cool. They are literally a file folder with sections for different pieces of work. These days, you just put it all in Google Drive.