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50 Facts About the 20th Century That Will Make You Feel So Old Today

The '80s and '90s were much longer ago than you think.

Those born in the 1980s or earlier will very much remember the turn of the new millennium, when we feared Y2K crashing computers and partying "like it's 1999" was a reality. But while it might not seem like it, 1999 was actually 20 years ago. We hate to break it to you, but now, we're almost 20 years into the 21st century—a fifth of the way through. If that doesn't make you feel old, then these 50 facts about the 20th century are sure to do the trick. Read on, if you dare!

Tickle-me Elmo is old enough to buy booze.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Even though Sesame Street had been around since the 1970s, Elmo reached a new level of fame in the mid-'90s. The "tickle-me" version that giggled when you pressed his tummy flew off the shelves faster than Tyco, its manufacturer, could keep up. In short, Tickle-me Elmo was the hottest toy of the 1996 holiday season. If you do the math, that means he turned 22 this year. And if he paid attention to everything he learned on Sesame Street, he'll be graduating from college soon!

DVDs are even older.

Stack of dvds boring holiday gifts

Personal entertainment technology comes and goes faster than a Tickle-me Elmo in 1996. So it's a bit surprising that DVDs stuck around for as long as they did. Sure, Blu-Ray started to overtake the humble DVD in the early 2000s, but it's more or less the same concept—a movie or several episodes of a TV show on a flat silver disc. Given the increase in downloading and streaming services, it just might be the last form of physical media. It's OK if that makes you shed a tear or two.

Harry Potter is now in his 30s.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone JK Rowling Jokes From Kid's Books

The Harry Potter book series turned 21 this year. In 1997, J.K. Rowling published Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone to Americans), which set many young readers off on a magical journey that spanned a decade's worth of books. In this first book, the title character was 11 years old, meaning Harry himself is now—brace yourselves—32. At least Daniel Radcliffe is still 29 for another year.

You've had 22 years to learn the rap verse of the Spice Girls' "Wannabe."

Spice Girls
Paul Smith / Featureflash Photo Agency

Although they've stayed in the public eye the past two decades—thanks to reunion tours, supposed infighting, a musical, and an Olympics performance—the Spice Girls were at their peak in 1996 with the hit song "Wannabe." And we still don't know what Scary Spice is saying! If you want to give it another go and re-live the glory days of the late-'90s, four of the Spice Girls—minus Victoria Beckham (AKA Posh Spice)—will be going on a second reunion tour in 2019. (Yes, we're in second reunion tour status.)

Back to the Future II now takes place in the past.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Many science fiction and fantasy films have dared to imagine what life would be like in the future, but Back to the Future and its sequels have been major cultural touchstones for Gen Xers. In the first sequel, released in 1989, the plot took us 26 years into the future, one which was full of hoverboards, self-lacing shoes, and pizza rehydrators. Well, now we're almost four years past the version of 2015 Back to the Future II imagined. But our hoverboards don't levitate, we're still tying our own shoes, and our microwaves and ovens can't reheat a tiny frozen pizza in a matter of seconds. Sorry to have let you down, Doc Brown!

"Google" was a number 20 years ago.

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Ask anyone who was around during the early days of the internet: plugging words into multiple search engines like Altavista, Dogpile, and Ask Jeeves was a pain. Then Google stepped in and seemed to unify the entire World Wide Web in one fell swoop. Now, Google's been around for two full decades and has expanded beyond a search engine into email, virtual reality, and more. It's become its own verb and you've probably already Googled something today. But prior to 1998, "googol" was just a funny word that meant an incredibly huge number: a 1 followed by 100 zeros. And if you wanted to outsmart your friends by coming up with an even bigger number, you probably remember throwing out the famed "googolplex," which is 10 to the googol power.

Royal weddings are now for Princess Di's kids.

prince harry and prince william {stereotypes}
Guy Corbishley/Alamy Live News

In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne. It was the wedding of the (previous) century and it's estimated that about 750 million people watched on TV, not on their computers at work. Now, it's nearly four decades later. The beloved people's princess tragically died and her children—Prince William and Prince Harry—have grown up, gotten married, and started families of their own.

Mick Jagger is a great-grandfather.

mick jagger rolling stones over 50

Though the music of the Rolling Stones is timeless and the current band members continue to tour, the fact remains that their heyday in the 1960s and '70s is moving further and further into the rearview. In fact, Sir Mick Jagger himself is, at 73, not only a grandfather, but as of 2014, a great-grandfather as well. But he also became a father again—for the seventh time—in 2016, meaning he has a son that's two years younger than his great-granddaughter. We'd like to imagine he was inspired by the plot of Father of the Bride Part II.

Pac-Man can technically be president.


To be eligible to become president of the United States, a person must be at least 35 years old, have resided in the U.S. for at least 14 years, and be a natural-born citizen. And Pac-Man definitely meets the first two requirements. Though he was born in Japan in 1980, he quickly crossed the Pacific to become a sensation in the U.S., where he's resided ever since. At 38, he's old enough for the highest office in the land. We imagine his platform would be cherries for everyone and no more ghosts!

MTV is barely a millennial.

mtv logo 80s nostalgia
Screenshot via YouTube

People in their 30s and 40s have spent the last 10 years or so waxing nostalgic about how MTV used to be about the music. Gone are the days when the cable channel broadcast music video after music video, as it used to do when it launched 1981. If MTV were a person, it'd be 37 and could have teenage children of its own right now. And here's a bonus fact that'll make you feel ancient: It's even been a full decade since Carson Daly last hosted Total Request Live in 2008. Paint your pinky and ring fingernails with black polish in mourning.

Coolio qualifies for a senior discount.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Although he'd been making music since 1982, Coolio didn't hit it big until the mid-1990s. When the movie Dangerous Minds came out in 1995, even people who never listened to rap or hip-hop were fans of "Gangsta's Paradise." The song even won him a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance. Of course, Grammys don't qualify you for a number of sizable discounts on food, beverages, and clothing—but being a senior citizen does. Well, Coolio turned 55 in August, which means he became eligible for many AARP-approved discounts.

Macauley Culkin is now older than his mom in Home Alone.

Home Alone film still
Photo 12/Alamy Stock Photo

The first Home Alone movie, released in 1990, gave us our first glimpse of 10-year-old Macauley Culkin. His mom in the movie was played by the hilarious Catherine O'Hara, who at the age of 36, still had the best part of her career ahead of her. (She's since starred in cult favorite Best in Show and currently stars on the beloved TVLand sleeper hit Schitt's Creek.) Now, Culkin is 38, two years older than O'Hara was when she played his mom. If that doesn't make you Kevin McAllister scream, what will?

Icons on smartphones and computers are already outdated.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Take a look at the "call" button on your cell phone—it's probably an outline of an old telephone handset. What about the FaceTime icon? It looks like a camcorder from the 1990s. And if you want to save the document you're working on, you know to click on the icon that looks like a floppy disk. Now take a moment to realize that today's teenagers have probably never used an old phone handset, a camcorder, or a floppy disk. Mind blown.

Friends is a Nick at Nite show now.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The Nick at Nite programming block has aired weekday evenings on Nickelodeon since 1985. Though the channel's daytime programming is for kids, Nick at Nite has always featured reruns of syndicated shows for their parents after 9 p.m. In the early days, shows like I Love Lucy, Green Acres, and Mister Ed dominated the schedule. Now, the rebranded "nick@nite" programming block features Friends, George Lopez, Spongebob Squarepants, and the still-in-production Mom. That '70s Show, Everybody Hates Chris, and How I Met Your Mother were all recently featured as well. That makes us feel older than Monica getting called Ross' mom at his wedding!

Gen X is older than Diet Coke.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Defining the boundaries of generations is a tricky thing, but most people use the term Generation X to apply to the children of Baby Boomers born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s. While this generation is able to take advantage of modern technology, they grew up without a lot of things that many of us take for granted now: personal computers, cell phones, and even Diet Coke. That's right: Diet Coke, released in 1982, is young enough that most Gen Xers remember life without it.

Prozac has been around for more than 30 years.

20th century facts

Prozac has done a lot of good since it was introduced in 1987. Before fluoxetine—the generic name for Prozac—and other serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, the only pharmaceutical treatments for depression had life-altering side effects. For many people with depression, Prozac was nothing short of a miracle, and the drug instantly became popular, simultaneously helping to erode the stigma of mental illness. Though no antidepressant is perfect, it's amazing to think that the Prozac revolution happened three decades ago.

The euro is 20 years-old.

20th century facts

It seems like just yesterday we were dealing in francs, lire, Deutsche marks, drachmas, and kroons… at least for those of us who traveled abroad in the 1980s and '90s. The euro was introduced in January 1999, two decades ago, as the currency of the European Union. Although the 2008 financial crisis hit some of these countries harder than others, world governments put certain reforms into place that have since stabilized the euro. Bonus fact: The euro symbol (€) can be typed on pre-1998 typewriters with a backwards C overstruck by an equal sign.

The actresses who could star in a Golden Girls reboot will shock you.

The Golden Girls Funniest Sitcoms
Touchstone Television via YouTube

The sitcom The Golden Girls was ahead of its time, and now only one original cast member, Betty White, is still living. Considering its cult-like following, it's a bit surprising that no one's tried to reboot it yet. If you were to recast the show today with actresses of the same age as their 1987 counterparts, you might find 51-year-old Nicole Kidman as Blanche, 62-year-old Geena Davis as Sophia, 63-year-old Whoopi Goldberg as Rose, and 63-year-old Laurie Metcalf as Dorothy. And we'd totally watch that show. For more classic TV sitcom moments, check out The 30 Funniest Sitcom Jokes of All Time.

Mayor McCheese retired 33 years ago.

Mcdonalds Meal

Although they were created essentially as a marketing stunt, many of us fondly remember the inhabitants of McDonaldland, featured on McDonald's commercials and products for decades. Although Grimace and the Hamburglar weren't phased out until 2003, the bumbling Mayor McCheese—who, memorably, had a cheeseburger for a head—retired back in 1985. During his time in office, he was at the center of a court battle with Sid and Marty Krofft, who claimed he was a direct rip-off of their mayoral character H.R. Pufnstuf. Eventually, the Kroffts were paid $1 million in damages—and Mayor McCheese was scarcely seen again.

Luke Perry was on the cover of AARP Magazine.

20th century facts

Heartthrob Luke Perry was known to millions of teenage girls in the early 1990s as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210. Although he left the show in 1995 to focus on other projects, he returned in 1998. He's worked steadily since the original 90210 ended in 2000 and currently plays Archie Andrews' dad on The CW hit Riverdale. But for many, he's forever frozen in time as the brooding Dylan. Thus, it was quite a shock when he popped up on the cover of AARP Magazine in 2016, especially considering he used to be a centerfold in Tiger Beat.

The Simpsons is the longest-running scripted TV series in the U.S.

Homer Simpson Teaches His Kids About Failure Funniest Sitcom Jokes

At 635 episodes spanning 20 seasons, Gunsmoke was by far the longest-running scripted TV series in American history until recently. Its record officially fell to The Simpsons when the animated series aired its 636th episode on April 29, 2018. For comparison, The Simpsons launched when the late George Bush, Sr. was president and if cartoons aged, Bart would be 40 and baby Maggie would be 30!

Baseball cards haven't come with gum for 27 years.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Believe it or not, baseball cards were originally used to sell gum, rather than the other way around. The cards gained popularity first in cigarette packs, but after selling tobacco to children was outlawed, gum manufacturers saw a captive audience for their product. Although the gum was never known for its high quality, it stuck around in Topps card packs until 1991, when collectors complained it stained the cards.

Saturday morning cartoons aren't a thing anymore.

kids watch tv

Although Nick at Nite has persisted, other programming blocks have not. FCC regulations in the 1990s mandated a certain amount of "educational programming," which meant the three big broadcast networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS—offered three-hour blocks of cartoons on Saturday mornings for growing minds. But when cable TV networks like the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network started to come on the scene, Saturday morning cartoon viewership plummeted, so the networks brushed them aside. ABC held out until 2004, and The WB/CW finally gave up the ghost in 2014. Although you can always find cartoons somewhere on Saturday mornings, not everyone subscribes to cable packages that include channels like Nicktoons and Disney XD. Gone are the days when we used to all gather around the small screen for G.I. JoeThe Transformers, ThunderCatsDucktales, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Banana Republic used to sell jungle gear, not workwear.

Banana Republic Store {Post-Holiday Sales}

Young people probably pass by a Banana Republic store and think, "What do suits and collared shirts have to do with bananas?" Well, in 1979, a married California couple who did a lot of traveling opened the first Banana Republic Travel and Safari Clothing Co., which specialized in jungle gear, like pith helmets and bush vests. In 1983, Gap Inc. bought the brand, and in 1988, they began phasing out that Indiana Jones look. If you can remember when Banana Republic clothes actually fit the name, you're definitely not a kid anymore.

Now That's What I Call Music! is on its 68th volume.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

It used to be that if you wanted your own copy of the Top 40 pop hits, you had two options: use a radio and a tape recorder, or buy them all as CD singles. Then somebody got wise and started selling something better: compilation albums of the hits—and only the hits. Though they existed since the '80s in the U.K., the first volume of Now That's What I Call Music! was released in the U.S. in 1998 and featured Janet Jackson, the Backstreet Boys, and Hanson (among others). After 20 years, the company just put out its 68th volume. It features artists like Ariana Grande, who was five years old when the first Now CD hit Sam Goody stores nationwide.

It hasn't been "time to make the doughnuts" for 22 years.

dunkin donuts store in manhattan

Even if you don't recognize his name, if you're of a certain age, you'd probably recognize actor Michael Vale if you saw him. For 15 years, he played the overworked Fred the Baker on Dunkin Donuts' "time to make the doughnuts" commercials. These ads publicized the chain's unique claim: The doughnuts they sold were baked every day in the individual stores, making them extra fresh. However, the company changed its production methods in 1996, switching to centralized bakeries for groups of up to 50 stores. Though poor "Fred" finally got some rest as Vale retired, his catchphrase of "time to make the doughnuts" lives on.

Harry and Sally just had their 30th anniversary.

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Writer Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner teamed up to make the eminently-quotable 1980s romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. The title characters, played by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, meet, become friends, and slowly fall in love over the course of 10 years, ultimately (spoiler alert!) getting married in 1988. That means they'd be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary this year, as well as the 40th anniversary of the day they met. Hopefully, they're celebrating with an orgasmic sandwich. For some of the most legendary movie quotes ever, check out The 30 Funniest Movie Lines of All Time.

The Motorola RAZR is in a museum.

20th century facts

The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is dedicated to collecting and displaying historical artifacts that show American ingenuity and innovation over time. With exhibits like Thomas Edison's lab and an 1897 steam engine, the museum ensures that younger generations can see the progress that technology has made over the years. That's why one exhibit displays the Motorola RAZR—the flip phone you probably had in 2006—alongside a two-way AM radio from 1940 and the first big gray brick of a mobile phone from 1983. You know, the one Zack Morris made famous on Saved by the Bell.

Hockey Players have had to wear helmets for 39 years.

bad jokes that are actually funny

Not only is hockey itself a brutal sport, with the slashing and high-sticking, but it's also got a reputation for breaking out into fistfights. It might seem shocking to younger generations that there was a time when the players in this violet sport didn't protect their heads with helmets. But it was only in 1979 that the NHL ruled that new players had to wear helmets, and even then, veteran players could go without them if they signed a waiver. If you were a hockey fan before helmets, chances are you're pushing 50 these days!

That '70s Show would be That '90s Show today.

That 70's Show Cast Funniest Sitcoms

When That '70s Show premiered in 1998, it capitalized on nostalgia for the world as it had been two decades prior. At the time, the fashion, the attitudes, and the décor all seemed like relics from the past. However, now that we've hit 2018, the hilarious antics two decades in our past took place in the 1990s. If someone were to reboot the sitcom today, it would take place in 1996 and contain a lot of jokes about the Macarena and Tamagotchis, but the bell bottoms would persist.

Paper money has been featuring big-headed presidents for 22 years.

Folded Money Facts

Up until the '90s, American paper currency had the same design for nearly 70 years. The U.S. Mint finally issued a redesign in 1996: The faces of the presidents were greatly enlarged and a number of anti-counterfeiting measures were put in place. Now, this "new money" has been in circulation for over 20 years. But another new design in 2003 added a peach background to the $20 bill, meaning that America hasn't had completely green money in 15 years.

Rickrolling is more than a decade old.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

The bane of the internet in 2007 was the "Rickroll." It seemed like you couldn't click on a link without being redirected to Rick Astley's music video for his song "Never Gonna Give You Up." It began, as many awful internet things do, on 4chan, when a user posted a link that purported to take you to the trailer for the Grand Theft Auto IV, but instead took you to the redheaded singer in his trench coat. On an unrelated note, take a look at this brand new trailer for the final season of Game of Thrones!

You've been hearing about Westeros for 20 years.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Speaking of Game of Thrones, if you can't believe the show is about to premiere its eighth season, you may be startled to learn that George R.R. Martin has been writing the A Song of Ice and Fire books for over two decades. For devoted readers though, it probably seems like that amount of time has passed since the most recent book, A Dance with Dragons, came out in 2011. With a five-year gap between books three and four, and a six-year gap between books four and five, Martin's fans are more than ready for the next in the series.

There are more than 800 Pokémon now, so it'd literally be impossible to catch 'em all.

pokemon cards things no man over 40 should own

When the first Pokémon games debuted in 1996, you only had to buy or trade between two game cartridges—red and green—in order to catch all 150 of the little creatures. So the "gotta catch 'em all" slogan—and theme song—made sense. But the following two decades have seen the release of seven generations of Pokémon games, with an eighth on the way. Now, there are over 800 Pokémon across 76 different games. So you probably couldn't "catch 'em all" these days, no matter how hard you try.

Tommy Pickles is old enough to rent a car.

pop culture 2018

The animated Nickelodeon show Rugrats was on the air for 13 years, long enough to become a cultural touchstone for a whole generation of kids. It showed us the world through the eyes of toddlers and even led to several movies, both made-for-TV and in theaters. Though the show premiered in 1991, protagonist Tommy Pickles' birthday is June 11, 1990, making him 28 years old this year. These days, he could rent a car, buy alcohol, vote in two presidential elections, and could even have rugrats of his own.

The Olsen twins are the same age John Stamos was when Full House ended.

20th century facts

For the entirety of the 1990s, it seemed like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were everywhere. Though Full House introduced them to the world, by the mid-'90s, the Olsen twins were taking starring roles in their own movies and TV shows. They acted until 2004, and eventually pursued a career in fashion together. Today, they have two successful luxury fashion brands: The Row and Elizabeth & James, which is named after their siblings. Since they're not in the headlines as much these days, it might be easy to forget that they're not teenagers anymore–in fact, they turned 32 this year. That's how old John Stamos was when Full House ended in 1995. To quote Uncle Jesse, "Whoa baby!"

Michael Jordan's baseball career began 24 years ago.

Michael Jordan, inspiring quotes

It would be inexcusable for today's young basketball fans not to know who Michael Jordan is, if only to compare him to LeBron James. However, they might not know that, after his first nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan retired from basketball to play professional baseball. He signed with the White Sox in 1994 and played a season for their minor league affiliate team, the Birmingham Barons. He did impress his manager, but an MLB players' strike the next year led Jordan to go back to the sport he played best. He went on to win three more NBA championships. Those who want a refresher on Jordan's trajectory just need to watch 1996's Space Jam, which is about his switch from basketball to baseball and back again. And for a real trip down memory lane, check out the Space Jam website, which still exists in its mid-'90s glory.

We've been saying "dot-com" for more than 30 years.

Obsolete, Dial-up internet

Usually notated as ".com," the phrase has been in our lexicon for over three decades now. It's a designation for a top-level domain that was originally restricted to commercial websites—hence the "com."  Though they were around in 1985, they didn't truly become popular until a decade later during an internet commerce boom that came to be known as the "Dot-com Bubble." Investors seemingly gave money to anyone with a dot-com website until March 11, 2000, when the market crashed. Dot-coms like Amazon and eBay toughed it out, but others—like the infamous—disappeared.

The yellow Lego man is middle-aged.

Playing with Lego Blocks

Although Lego bricks have been around since the 1940s, the classic yellow figure with c-shaped hands and a permanent smile on his face didn't come about until 1978. The company experimented with a tall, boxy "Lego Family" and an armless, faceless drone before settling on the design that nearly every child born in the past four decades has played with. First available only as part of the space, castle, or town playsets, the Lego man now comes in multiple genders, races, ages, and designs. You can even customize a one to look like you with a "Go Brick Me" Lego.

First-person shooter games have been around for a quarter of a century.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Although this video game genre has roots going back as far as 1973, it wasn't until 1993's release of Doom that first-person shooter games really took off. These games are distinctive for giving players the ability to look through the eyes of their characters, rather than having to control it in a third-person manner. Since this type of game requires 3-D graphics, it produces a more realistic "world" for the player, which helped Doom become a hit within hours of its release 25 years ago.

The Flowbee is responsible for three decades of mullets.

flowbee informercial 80s nostalgia
Screenshot via YouTube

First sold in 1988, the Flowbee has been delivering "precision layered haircuts" for 30 years now. This device—which claims to work with 90 percent of vacuum cleaners that have a hose attachment—can cut hair at lengths from ½ inch to 6 inches long and anywhere in between. Perhaps using vacuum suction to cut your hair strikes you as a bad idea, but the company's late-night infomercials made their product a modest success in the late '80s and early '90s. If you're curious, check out, which looks like it hasn't been updated since 1988, but still sells the product!

It took nearly 20 years after Titanic for Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar.

movies based on a true story
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Titanic cleaned up at the 1998 Oscars—and it still holds the record for most Academy Awards given to a single movie in a three-way tie with 1959's Ben Hur and 2003's Lord of the Ring: The Return of the King. Alas, beloved star Leonardo DiCaprio would have to wait nearly two decades after Titanic's premiere for his Oscar, which he finally won in 2016 for The Revenant. 

Ralphie's Red Ryder BB gun is 80 years-old!

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

A Christmas Story was released in 1983, but the BB gun little Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) so desperately wanted in the film first came out in 1938, which means it's now 80 years old. The model is still available and can be yours for $39.99, which probably would've sounded like hundreds to young Ralphie.

Anyone under 20 has never known a world without Britney Spears.

Britney Spears

It's been two full decades since Britney Spears burst onto the pop scene with her single "…Baby One More Time" in 1998. It immediately shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and it remains one of the best-selling singles of all time. Since then, Spears' career has seen a number of ups (international tours) and downs (shaving her head in front of paparazzi), but she's definitely no longer a 17-year-old schoolgirl. Now, she's a 37-year-old mom of two with, among other things, a successful perfume brand and an RPG app game.

A quarter of a century ago, Aaron Burr made you think of milk, not Hamilton.

20th century facts
Image via Wikimedia Commons

If you watched television in the early '90s, you probably knew "Who killed Alexander Hamilton?" long before Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the musical Hamilton. And that's not because you were an A+ history student. The reason, as you might remember, is the famous "Got milk?" commercial where a poor sap (Sean Whalen) loses a radio contest posing the question because he hasn't got any milk to wash down his peanut butter sandwich. One thing you probably didn't know about that "Got milk?" commercial is that Michael Bay (of Transformers fame) directed it. Both Bay and Burr are far more famous nowadays.

Ron Weasley is the same age as Adele.

20th century facts

Intellectually, we know that the kids we see on screen won't be kids forever, but since we can watch their work over and over again, it can be hard to remember that they're aging just like the rest of us. Rupert Grint, the actor who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, turned 30 this year. And even more shocking, the singer Adele only turned 30 this year. The world is a strange place.

Gas hasn't been less than $1 per gallon in 30 years.

random acts of kindness

Obviously, gas prices differ in different parts of the country, but the last time the average price per gallon in the United States was below a dollar was 1988, when it was 86 cents. Of course, adjusted for inflation, that's about $1.51. Prices peaked in 2012 at $3.80 a gallon, and they've thankfully declined since then. Many geopolitical factors have influenced the price of gas over time, from the Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars to oil gluts in the 1980s and 2010s. Gone are the days when anything costs just cents, we guess.

You've been seeing Darth Vaders on Halloween for more than 40 years.

Star Wars

The first Star Wars movie was released in 1977, and ever since, kids have looked forward to dressing up as Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia or Darth Vader on Halloween. And you'll still see them on October 31st today. It's amazing that these movies and these costumes have had staying power for four decades, and they're unlikely to decrease in popularity anytime soon with Episode IX in December 2019.

Today's high school students were born in the 2000s.

This is an obvious one, but it's also a hard one to swallow for those of us who partied like it was 1999 when that year was still in the future. Today's high school students—14 to 18 year olds, broadly speaking—were almost all born after the turn of the millennium. They've never known a life without laptops, smartphones, or even emojis. They didn't know Disney movies before Pixar. Most were born after September 11, 2001. It's a hard one to wrap your head around.

We're closer in time to certain dinosaurs than they were to each other.

dinosaur skull, celebrities not like us

Let's unpack that, shall we? Though most of us imagine "the time dinosaurs roamed the Earth" as a single era, it's actually broken down into three major stages separated by millions of years. For example, herbivores, like Diplodocus and Stegosaurus, roamed the Earth about 150 million years ago, while Triceratops and T-rex only came about 67 million years ago—a difference of 83 million years. That means more time separates Stegosauruses and T-rexes than separates us from T-rexes, today.

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Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more
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