Throwback References Our Kids Will Never Understand…Sadly

The other day I was sitting at the dining room table with my sons. We were each doing our thing – they were doing homework, and I was working on my laptop.

Suddenly, the light went off (we have a timer on it) and I instinctively clapped twice in hopes it would turn on again. Of course, it didn’t because we don’t have the Clapper.

Nonetheless, they looked at me with a bewildered look on their face.

“Mom, why did you just clap like that?” my 7-year old asked.

So, I sang:

Clap on! (clap, clap)

Clap off! (clap, clap)

Clap on, clap off, the clapper!

All I get are blank stares.

Talk about making me feel old!

There’s an entire generation who don’t get these references that were so popular back in our day.

It made me realize all the other wonderful references they are missing out on.

Poor things.

Sometimes it pays to be Rocking Over 40 and have these wonderful sayings to fall back on, wouldn’t you say?

Here are some of my favorite ones that I happily blurt out every opportunity I get:

1. Whatcha talkin’ bout Willis?

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My kids have gotten used to this one, and I can proudly say they use it in the right context, annoying as it may be at times.

2. Where’s the beef?!?


It naturally comes out of me every time I order a hamburger. I just can’t help it.

3. Da plane da plane!


Without fail or hesitation, I can never resist saying this every time we see a small plane.

4. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!


I’ve been known to dramatically blurt this out anytime I’m already on the floor wiping some goo off while my sons and husband are comfortably sitting around. My little one (bless his soul) always comes to my rescue while the other two, already used to my antics, simply roll their eyes.

5. It’s hammer time.


Probably one of the most awesome phrases ever because it makes sense in any situation (at least to me.)

6. Nanu-nanu.


Who can forget the greetings and farewells of the legendary Robin Williams in Mork and Mindy? My kids love the nanu-nanu hand gesture, who doesn’t?

7. The quicker picker upper.


Nothing like saying the “quicker picker upper did its job” in a house full of rambunctious boys who make a messy mess all the time. Bounty to the rescue.

8. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.


Only people of my generation understand this one. I usually bring it up whenever my kids go on, and on, and on about something and never come to an agreement. I say it and they just stare at me like I’ve lost my mind. Oh, the drama!

9. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.


My kids and my husband (who came from another country when he was in his early 30s) have absolutely no idea why I sing this every time I savor an Almond Joy. They just go with the flow, they know better.

10. I’m gonna wash that gray right out of my hair.


It’s funny how back when this Clairol campaign launched in the mid-80s I was so young and never imagined having to color my hair to hide gray. I giddily sang this jingle all the time. Now that the gray hair dilemma is real, this jingle gets stuck in my head all the time. Sometimes it is pure torture, but I love it nonetheless.

I know there are a million other references from back in the day, but these are a few of my favorite ones.

What are yours?


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